Category: Mercy and Healing

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

Joyful Rescue

By Marco Casanova, Asst. Director of DSM/LW

Jesus, through His Church, rescues the joy of my salvation.

The mission of Jesus, at its very core, is to offer Himself as our saving remedy. He’s what “salvation” is all about. Jesus Himself descends to the root of our existence, and heals us.

I needed salvation.

I didn’t choose to have same-sex attraction. I didn’t want it. There have been seasons of self-hatred because of it. If it were up to me, I’d choose a different story. Yet it’s precisely there that I needed Jesus, there that I met Him, and there that I continue to meet Him.

Same-sex attraction engendered a deep, ruminating sadness in me. It tried to determine my destiny, but I wanted more. Trusting Jesus, I called on Him.

I planted the Cross in the ground of my same-sex attraction. Instead of a deepening chasm of sadness, it became the base of His Cross. The Cross took root. I needed Jesus to be enthroned there. I needed Him to remain there. I desired Him to dwell there.

That was just the beginning for me. It’s essential: finding a place in my subjective, broken experience for the Cross. If I hadn’t identified that space, I wouldn’t need a Savior. Jesus is no hobby. I need Him.

After fixing the Cross in the place I abhorred most, the Savior sought to rescue a deeper joy. He wanted to rain on my parade of “worldly sorrow”, crucifying it.

“For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation and brings no regret, but worldly grief produces death” (2 Cor 7:10).

Catholic thinkers through the ages have developed a theology of human behavior called “moral theology.” Josef Pieper, an expert on the great , is a gift in this area. Pieper writes about “acedia,” a vice against hope. Synonymous with sloth, acedia is “worldly sorrow.” When I initially thought of sloth, I listed many ways to combat my millennial laziness. Pieper and Aquinas take it to another level.

Aquinas says that acedia is a sin against “sabbath rest.” To kill this vice against hope is not about doing, but about being. “Genuine rest and leisure are possible only under the precondition that man accepts his own true meaning” (Pieper). If humanity has no peace with who he is created to be, he is unable to rest. Or, maybe he’d rather stay in his unrest? Boom. Worldly sorrow tries again to determine his destiny.

Pieper goes on to say that acedia, in its final form, is a hatred of the divine good. It has “a monstrous result that, upon reflection, man expressly wishes that God had not ennobled him but had ‘left him in peace.’”

God created me, a man, for purposes above and beyond my low-ceiling expectations. What does worldly sorrow sound like? “Lord, I’d rather stay in my porn addiction. Leave me alone.” “Lord, I’d rather live a life of unfettered homosexual pleasure. Leave me be.” “Lord, I didn’t ask for this, and I could care less about your ‘plans and purposes’ for my life. I give up.”

This worldly sadness is subtle but grows in strength. It hates the light.

Why, in this ruminating state, was I so sad, asking God to leave me alone? I lacked hope in the God who raises the dead. I lacked hope that God created me for joy, not sadness. Why couldn’t I be reconciled to the good of my body? Why couldn’t God create a way for me to be known in my deepest wound? Why couldn’t God fulfill my desire for a bride and family?

The Cross is a doorway, leading me to the Church. As I placed that Cross in the ground I most hated, Jesus opened me to His friends. The Cross was no “joy-killer.” It was an invitation to a feast. This feast gives me hope.

Coaxed by the saints and Church teaching, I discovered the good of my body. Her Sacraments allow me to access Jesus’ forgiving, Sacred Heart. Her saints remind me that resistance to worldly sorrow is the path to victory. I am not alone; He gives me friends with whom to feast. And I seek a particular woman with whom to create family. Jesus, lead on!

Jesus, through the Church, rescues my joy. Over and over. Worldly sorrow still knows my name, but I choose to resist. God made me for so much more; therefore, I place my hope in Him.

Collective Burden, Personal Transformation

Abbey Foard, Executive Director of DSM/LW

Our nation (and our world) is swirling, as dizzying news cycles attest. No need to recount—we are living them. For those of us sensitive to “feeling” our communities, the intensity can feel like a riptide, a fierce pull away from the shoreline into unstable waters.

In this sensitivity, we can risk interpreting our world too personally. When I do this, I risk condemning myself and others. We can also risk depersonalizing these global realities by refusing responsibility for neighbor and brother. We may lurch from super-responsibility, as though the weight of every life rests upon our shoulders, to shirking responsibility entirely. When we do this, we numb our call to be salt and light—stabilizing forces amid upheaval.

I believe God is provoking His Church (you and me personally) to awaken and find the narrow way. He invites us to re-engage with Him so we can share His heart and carry His burden—a collective burden—for the world He loves and the people He yearns to make His own.

He is calling us to neither harden our hearts nor grow weary in well-doing but to be healed, both personally and collectively. He wants this collective burden to personalize into deeper transformation at core areas of our lives.

We must respond to His invitation in real-time. That means giving Him room to sensitize us to His conviction. Might we take time to heed His call to shift and sort what needs reordering in our lives? That requires humility and surrender in ways we have not yet known. Yet Jesus came to do this deep work. Seasons like this expose our need for it.

In His book, The Bible and Homosexual Practice (2001), Robert Gagnon speaks of Jesus’ attitudes around healing and transformation. When Jesus encountered sexual sinners, exploitive tax collectors, and the like, He did not hesitate to direct them to a narrow way. Healing was more than a 280-character tweet; it was a life-altering change. For Jesus, “Healing implies transformation; transformation implies repentance [and] without reform of one’s prior sinful conduct there can be no recovery” (p. 211).

We ought not move through times like this without personal and collective reform, repentance unto transformation and healing. No part of our individual life is excluded—our Church and world cannot change until we do. And because of that, I believe that individual transformation matters most to Jesus.

At Desert Stream, we invite each person into this personal transformation. We are unpopular, as we insist that Jesus transforms deep sexual and relational brokenness. We proclaim what we have seen and experienced. We know the freedom and challenge of living out our reform. Whatever way the swirls of 2020 are hitting us, may you and I respond with a “yes” to the transformation that Jesus seeks to do in each of us.

Sacred Heart, Living Stream

I write this on the Feast Day of Jesus’ Sacred Heart: His generous love for each human being revealed in His pierced heart pouring out all we need to be free. Jesus’ Sacred Heart distills the meaning of mercy—so deep yet so simple that a child could behold His lovely face and wounded heart and know somehow that every tear can find its end in His embrace.

You are reading this on the third day of our Living Waters Training here in Kansas City. We are doing it: 60 brave souls turned off their computers and re-entered the land of the living. We gather through and for His Sacred Heart; we position ourselves before His river of Divine Mercy and welcome the flood that cleanses and the healing Presence that restores us as we offer His gifts to one another.

I can say without exaggeration that His Sacred Heart is our focus. The Church rightly identifies Jesus’ heart as the ‘chief sign and symbol of that love with which the Divine Redeemer loves all human beings without exception’ (CCC #478). O, how He loves us. We position our divided, parched hearts before His, pulsating with mercy for us. The Blood speaks a better Word and silences the din that might otherwise drown out His still small voice of Love. Speak Lord, Your servants are listening! Neither virus nor riot, war nor rumors of war, bad court rulings nor yellow journalists, will separate us from Love.

Real life has stripped us of self-reliance. We flee into the folds of His Sacred Heart, pierced for us: You Jesus, assuming our suffering and imparting the consolation only You can give. Divine Mercy is like a magnet that compels us to name every sin, every wound, every hardening part of us that needs to be made tender and new in His healing flood.

Our aim is not small. If we can discover afresh the Love that changes everything, then we can give that love away. We can heal others. As wounded healers, we serve the broken ever mindful of our weaknesses. Yes, He contains and sustains us, and He does so in the full light of what is still being healed. We dare not venture out from His heart. Only in union with Him do we offer others the mercy that frees every heart inclined toward His.

Jesus’ Sacred Heart is always inclined toward ours. That is our hope, the Source of ‘Living Waters’. Please pray for us! May His heart enlarge ours and release through us a river of mercy that will change the world, one grateful sinner at a time.

Prayerfully Fight for Living Waters (Torrents de Vie/TDV) in the French-Speaking World!

Over 25-years-ago, a CA woman prophesied that Living Waters would find extraordinary expression in France. Her words came true. Founders Werner and Charlotte and new leaders Claude and Monique have led thousands of French-speakers (France, Switzerland, French Guyana, other territories) into pools of life-transforming mercy. They have been persecuted unlike any other expression of Living Waters. Pray for their courage as hostile cultural forces seek to destroy them.

Claude writes:

The Lord calls us to face many challenges, external and internal.

-A bill is advancing in the French National Assembly ‘prohibits practices aimed at changing a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.’ The govt.’s goal? To close TDV Werner Loertscher and similar associations.

-A variety of journalists have infiltrated our healing sessions. The last one resulted in the publication of a book scandalizing TDV, particularly Werner Loertscher. Gay lobbyists waged a virulent press war against us that made big news in the French media for months.

-More and more churches are destabilized in their positions in the face of homosexuality. The retreat center which sponsors our training canceled our reservation due to fear of demonstrations.

-Pray for our leaders’ fortitude; many feel abused and insecure. One local group closed.

-Pray for us as we work on unifying and renewing our teams.

-Pray for fresh coordinators with clear vision who can strengthen others and launch new groups.

-Pray for our ‘Summer University’ designed to restore team members and to grow in the basics of spiritual combat. We created a ‘Spiritual Coaching Training’ to equip new team members.

-We are creating a website designed to defend our positions and to educate parliamentarians.

Pray for us to be courageous, in the spirit of Paul’s exhortation in Philippians 1:27–30: ‘to fight with one heart for the faith of the gospel, without being frightened in any way by those who oppose us.’

Thank you for prayerfully standing with us!

On behalf of the TDV team,

Claude RIESS

Become Who You Are

The full stature of our humanity is always just outside our grasp. Someone truer, stronger, more tender-in-love awaits his or her true revelation.

As God made us in us His very image, He has wired us to represent Him more nearly, more authentically. For this we must reach. Joseph Pieper describes such inspired aspiration as magnanimity, our ‘yes’ to realizing the greatness He stamped upon every cell of our being.

He is faithful. We have all experienced leaders who have witnessed our childishness, roll their eyes, and mutter: ‘Grow up.’ Not our Father and Son. When we fall short of greatness, fumble the ball or even foul out, He loves us through our shame and gently commands that we become more. He wills what He commands. Nothing less than the power that elevated Jesus from the tomb infuses our weak ‘yes’; He helps us to break through the invisible wall that keeps us crowned by childish things.

The other day, in response to an attitude Annette witnessed in me as less than godly and manly, I sought the Lord and He invited me: ‘I want you to become bigger in this area. As you stand tall and refuse to bend, I will give you victory.’ He has. I must choose daily to stand in that higher place. As I do, I grow into the freedom for which Christ set me free.

It hurts but helps us to bump against low ceilings of immaturity. Growth requires our ‘yes’ to Spirit-inspired commands to break the previously unseen wall.

How sad when we don’t. I know a good man who loves Jesus and leads others in His Name who is convinced that he is intrinsically ‘gay.’ Though he refuses explicit homosexual behavior, he is bound by boyish dependencies that belie his 39-years. These friendships are flirtatiousness and campy; his immaturity confuses others and keeps him a pre-teen, emotionally speaking.

It’s hard to grow up. And our Father helps us. He knows we tend to familiar, lesser selves due to laziness and lack of vision. You could say St. Paul wrote most of his epistles for just that reason, to remind faltering Christians to become who God made and redeemed them to be.

LGBT+ month reminds us that we live in an age that has stripped ‘compassion’ of magnanimity; we have lost vision and spiritual power. Let us reclaim both. St. Paul’s words ring truer than ever: ‘For you were once darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord. Live as children of the Light’ (Eph. 5:8). St. Augustine says it another way. ‘Live up to what you have become.’ Become who you are.

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