‘The mercy of God is not an abstract idea but a concrete reality through which He reveals His love as that of a mother or father, moved to the very depths out of love for their child.’ Pope Francis, The Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy
The dark powers that drive our ‘gay marriage’ culture have effectively skewed the meaning of justice, compassion and human dignity. More personally, we witness our loved ones caught in the undertow of these dark waters. Many of you now face painful relationships with persons you love due to a clash of moral values.
Good friends, sons and daughters, spouses, parents, entire faith communities are now ‘out and proud’; we grieve over an alien spirit that has overtaken them. We whose brokenness led us to cleave to Christ know that only He can liberate the conflicted heart.
But what can we do? We cannot make another’s moral or spiritual choice. But we can pray! Join us at Desert Stream Ministries for 40 days from Oct. 14-Nov. 22 as we cry out for mercy on behalf of lost loved ones. Just as nothing pierces our hearts more than their distress, nothing pierces God’s heart more. He longs for their return to His loving care more than we do. Only the Father, through the Son, by the Spirit can reorient them according to His best for their lives.
And He delights in our entrusting to Him the fear and strife that distorts the beautiful mercy He has entrusted to us. He frees us from ‘God-playing’ and frees us for faithful reliance upon Himself. As we deepen in prayer, we begin to see how He is converting us through the distress of another; our sometimes shrill self-righteousness is giving way to a humble brokenness that invites mercy.
By the first week of October, you will receive a PDF of a 40-day prayer guide. Drawing daily upon Psalm 116, we will reflect upon how merciful God has been to us in our sins and wounds; we will then ask Him for a double portion of that mercy to extend to loved ones far from the Father’s house. He awaits them and sees them this very moment. May God use these days to give us His sight and His heart for lost loved ones. May He make us a small answer to our own prayers.
We would ask as you pray with us that you give up something of value during these days. As you go without, we ask that God would grant you the freedom to linger a bit longer in His presence. Let whatever ‘hunger’ you experience be a reminder of the greater need someone else has for your merciful prayers.
“Jesus rose up…and said to His disciples, ‘Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?’ ” (Mk 4:39, 40)
The sleeping Church can no longer ignore the alarms. She must become the answer to a consumer-driven culture intent on making gender identity and marriage a figment of our fallen imagination.
What’s at stake is the dignity of persons created in God’s image; will the Church mobilize and guide them into transformation, into becoming icons of the Holy One? Or will she slumber as the vulnerable are conformed to a host of worldly identities which reduce them to idols?
Like Jesus asleep in the boat, we His members must arise and calm the storm by mercifully calling all to chastity and relational integrity. The answers are ours, eternally; now is the hour to declare those answers clearly and humbly. Christians who mumble won’t be heard.
After the Court’s ‘gay marriage’ decision at the end of June, I attended Mass where the pastor alluded to Christian truth amid falsehood but never quite landed; I nearly fell out of my pew waiting for him to say something hopeful and helpful about how the Church’s embrace of persons with same-sex attraction exceeds false solutions to the problem. I waited in vain until the service ended then made a bee-line for the poor guy: ‘Please don’t forget persons like me who are vulnerable…If you the pastor don’t say anything, we won’t hear anything but ‘gay is the way, walk in it.’ “
Then I received a gift in the mail. That same Sunday, a Catholic Church in Pennsylvania (which just happens to run a Living Waters group) put out the most amazing church bulletin I have ever read. Really. Entitled ‘Difficult Conversations for Faithful Catholics’, it laid out a series of brief articles on how to love well persons with SSA while remaining true to one’s Christian conscience. Its premise? We all come to Christ broken; we all need Jesus in order to discover together what it means to become whole. I invite you to download the PDF. .
Simple. Smart. Truly loving. This is the Church who embodies what she preaches and does so with stunning accuracy. Jesus is waking up and arising through His body. All we need to fear is faithlessness. We have the answers. Let’s give them!
‘There is no greater tragedy for man than the disillusionment he suffers when he has falsified his hope by placing it in something other than the Love that satisfies.’
St. Josemaria Escriva
We are setting up future generations for disillusionment. We are giving them false hope. Case in point: our national celebration of Bruce Jenner-in-drag as ‘athlete of the year’ at the ESPY awards and the smug assumption that we are now on the right side of history with ‘gay marriage’ in America.
The Supreme Court redefining marriage is founded on the wrong assumption that people are intrinsically, immutably homosexual, an ‘ethnos’ in its own right. We then conclude that the ‘gay’ pursuit of happiness must include the right to same-gender marriage, in the same breath that we champion freedom from racial discrimination.
That is a lie. Persons with same-sex attraction are not inherently ‘gay’ any more than are persons with heterosexual lust problems. Anyone facing disordered desires can change; ethnic status is immutable and inherently blessed, far removed from the moral implications of celebrating alternate sexual ‘selves.’
Could it be that persons with same-sex attraction are in conflict with their true ethnos–to be reconciled to their own gender in order to make peace with their need for the opposite gender? We do no-one any favor by holding out the hope that ‘gay’ marriage will resolve the conflict at the core of same-sex attraction. It falsifies the hope of happiness. We must dig deeper than superficial ethnic metaphors in order to probe why persons become ‘gay’ and how they can resolve their real conflicts.
On that fault line, we now embrace the right of persons to choose their own gender, a la Bruce Jenner. His hope now lies in creating a ‘female’ self through hormones and plastic surgery and designer gowns. I watched gap-mouthed as this deep-voiced 65-year-old man in a tight white dress received his ESPY award and cast a global vision of ‘self-acceptance’ for young people as equally conflicted in their gender identities as he is. In his words, ‘This award is about accepting people for who they are.’
Jenner is clueless about who he is and yet now seeks to guide thousands into becoming ‘who they are’. The blind lead the blind into bitter disillusion. ‘They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves to depravity’ (2P 2:9).
We only know who we are based on the One who made us and who with great compassion longs to redeem us from the catastrophic impact of sin upon our gender selves. For the sake of future generations, let us forsake all complicity with false hope. Let us seek with all our hearts to make Jesus known to vulnerable ones. He alone is trustworthy, the Hope who will not disappoint us.
‘My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with Me.’ (Matt. 26:38)
‘Sorry God’ has been the gist of my prayer life lately. Since the ‘gay marriage’ ruling, I have found myself asking God’s forgiveness for breaking His heart.
We take what is holy and twist it in our image. God made us in His image, and chose marriage to reveal His heart for all persons. We break His heart when we mess with His revelation.
Many superficial Christians I know applauded last month’s ruling. That breaks His heart even more–persons who identify with Him but do not know His heart for marriage and for the homosexually vulnerable. He wants to gather the weak into His arms, not seal their conflict in a mockery of marriage.
So I try to keep watch with Him in His sorrow. I must wait for Him. My sorrow is small and must be subsumed by His. Yet in His wounds I am free. Our battle is not with mere humans but with dark powers that deceive and deride. Holy grief protects our hearts and wages war on such powers.
Grieving with Jesus also consoles His heart. Bonnie West said just that as many of us prayed together for Jesus’ heart in light of the marriage ruling.
Let us weep over our superficiality and sin and a nation now more vulnerable to both. Let our tears bring us close to His heart, as to comfort it.
After the ruling, my friend Wayne Keiger-Rice said his beautiful wife Carol could not stop crying on Jesus’ behalf. She found the immovable place; she consoles Him in a marvelous unity of broken hearts.
‘Perfect love casts out fear.’ (1JN 4:18)
We now live in a ‘gay marriage’ nation. Persons who fear the Lord, especially persons ‘barely escaping the error’ of homosexual practice, will experience a new vulnerability, the glare that results when another layer in the moral ozone disappears. Talk about global warming!
The moral tempest intensifies for us but we must not fear. We must not allow ourselves to be tossed about by the threat of abandonment, the deception that God is not advocating for us due to multiple victories on the ‘gay’ front.
Like the disciples who understandably feared for their lives due to a squall at sea, we may be tempted to shout at the Lord, ‘Do something; don’t You care if we drown?’ (MK 4:38)
Jesus quieted and stilled the din and restored calm to His kids. ‘Why were you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?’ (v. 40) Where is our faith? In the swing vote of a human judge? Or in the God who knows and who uses all things to advance His Kingdom through persons who look to Him alone?
God is in complete command. Amid the moral storm, He is preparing for Himself an army of bright, shining lamps that will grow in number and brilliance as the days grow darker. Lean into your Beloved. Stay near Him in His sleeping and in His rising. Let faith guard your heart from fear. The real Presence of His love is our refuge.