Category: Prayer

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

Almost Home

‘No-one can celebrate a genuine Christmas without being truly poor. Only those who need someone to come on their behalf will have that someone. That someone is God, Emmanuel, God-with-us…Without poverty of spirit, there can be no abundance of God.’ St. Oscar Romero

Christmas is for people in need. All of us. No matter how seasoned the saint, each of us possess an ache only Jesus can fill. In other words, knowing the One who is our home doesn’t mean we have arrived home; we are still on the way. Christmas can be a good time to recall resistance en route, and receive afresh from Jesus and His members.

No two people demonstrate this better than Mary and Elizabeth. Their ‘visitation’ highlights what we can be for each other as we seek to bring Jesus into the world (LK 1:39-45). If you recall, pregnant Mary, compelled by the Spirit, rushes to see her cousin Elizabeth, nearly bursting with John the Baptist. I’ve been dismayed by homilies that portray Mary as composed and selfless, matron on a mission to care for Elizabeth. Not evident in the text—just one of many ways we drain the blood from the saints then bleach them unnaturally white.

I prefer to think of immaculate Mary as a stressed-out teenager who needs God’s Word spoken to her; the burden is huge, and she needs solidarity with someone who ‘gets’ her load—not platitudes from a priest or husband but another woman swelling at the seams who may well share her temptation to doubt the marvels at hand.

And wow. Elizabeth delivers with the most astute prophetic greeting one can imagine: Hail, Mother of my Lord! I am not worthy of this visit! Bless you for believing that what God says will be done! The words of her friend loose Mary’s tongue and she scats one of the most beautiful songs ever (LK 1: 46-55).

Maybe your efforts to bring forth Christ this year have been frustrated by doubts or loneliness or failure or misunderstanding. Celebrating His coming reminds you; it hurts. You are right where Jesus wants you to be. He comes for the empty, not the self-possessed. Open to the One who is coming and who comes now through His Spirit. Welcome Him in quiet. Then hurry to a friend. May the Spirit of Elizabeth prophesy through us to each other: Blessed are you who believe!

‘It may well be, as Jesus says, more blessed to give than to receive. But it is more difficult to receive…In Jesus, God wanted to do something for us so utterly beyond the bounds of human imagination or projection that He had to resort to angels, pregnant virgins, and stars in the sky. We didn’t think of it, understand it, or approve it. All we could do, at Bethlehem, was receive it.’ William Willimon

Please take time to watch our new video and become ‘Chaste Together.’

Download PDF

Cry of the True Self

‘I know that only the LordGod can and will loose my fetters and open my door, and that only His creative storm will unfurl my flag once again…’ FR Alfred Delp

In the film ‘Before Sunset’, Ethan Hawke muses to an ex-lover as to why he left her for another in order to become a husband then father: ‘I chose my best self over my honest one.’ Moments later, ‘honesty’ overtakes him and he tumbles into bed with his old flame.

Much is made today about such ‘honesty’—as if getting real with your bad self is virtuous. We portray ‘best’ selves as sexless and stodgy; ‘honest’ selves warrant sweeping sound-tracks and soft porn montages. Raising the banner of authenticity, men and women break their vows to God and each other in order to fuse with a sweeter fix. ‘To thine own self be true’ is the adulterer’s creed–forsaking all others for a better conversation or orgasm.

So Sue ditches husband and kids for Jim. Or for Jenny. Gender does not matter much here; what does is waking up for a few mornings with someone who ‘gets you’ and is happy for you ‘to get’him or her, sensationally.

Authentic adultery. We’ve all encountered it with close friends and possibly came close to agreeing with:‘That marriage died a long time ago; finally she found her soul-mate’, or ‘He’s always been gay and now is free…’ When we romanticize the needs of one to the exclusion of others, we contribute to the abandonment of a host of dependents who actually need Mom and Dad to reach for their best.

Advent provokes us to become our best. John the Baptist heralds the true self based wholly on the person of Jesus Christ. He cries out three times and urges us to do the same:‘In your desert, prepare the way of the Lord…In your withering, the Word of God stands forever…Here is your God; He comes with power!’ (IS 40:3-10)

The Baptist, inflamed by the soon-coming King, implored his followers to turn from sin and toward the One who incinerates all falsehood to expose gleaming truth (LK 3: 16, 17). That self emerges only through authentic encounter with Jesus Christ. Jesus forges a true self out of our temptations; He summons our best from honest confession of our lower possibilities.

John confronts us with a glimpse of Glory, before whom we flee or surrender. Jesus gives us the choice to agree with Him before He knocks us off our high horse of disordered dreams—myths of contours that complement ours perfectly.

He levels us to the ground in order to raise us according to His best for our lives. This is the authentic self who lives for Him and who endures whatever limits us creatures impose on each other. Love frees us for serving others gratefully. We are most real—mostalive to the truth of who we are–when we live from His wellspring in order to help quench the thirst of others.

From a prison cell on theeve of his execution, Advent ’44, Delp wrote:

‘Human honesty requires man to see himself as a servant and perceive his reality as a mission and an assignment. The idea of authentic service and authentic duty belongs to the essence of man’s self-concept. Anyone who undermines this has smeared his own image and corrupted his own self-knowledge…

What man contributes to his own great liberation into a fulfilled life consists of honest humility, willing openness, readiness to serve, authentic testimony, and praise. If man sets out upon his Advent road, he will be granted the great encounter, for man’s liberation happens as an encounter. God works a multi-faceted liberation within him, meeting him when he rises beyond self in a lived experience of being comforted and uplifted.’ (Advent of the Heart, Ignatius Press)

Please take time to watch our new video and become ‘Chaste Together.’

Download PDF

Advent: Woes and Warring for Souls

‘Perhaps what we modern people need most is to be genuinely shaken…God permits this whirlwind to go over the earth…This is the first Advent message: before the end, the world will be set quaking.’ FR Alfred Delp

‘The coming of Jesus is fearsome news for everyone with a conscience’, says Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Advent jolts us awake. Rather than lull ourselves to sleep with boozy good cheer, we can rouse ourselves in the electric lights radiating from the gray. God calls us to shine bright for the saving of many lives.

So it was at our Gender Matters Conference in Manila. Between the Feast of St. Andrew and the first Sunday of Advent, hundreds of us packed out a hall in the city center and betrothed ourselves anew to Jesus and His truth for humanity amid a national drive to enslave citizens by guaranteeing ‘rights to gender expression’, aka defy your nature and conjure a false self. The Philippines is poised to become the first nation in Asia to pass a law that grants preferential treatment to the ever-expanding LGBT+ set while imposing extreme penalties for anyone who ‘creates an emotionally distressing environment’ which ‘results in the loss of self-esteem’ for any person flaunting an identity fracture.

The bill is expressly designed to silence any pastor, parent, or friend who casts a vision of gender wholeness for loved ones being tempted by a host of fake identities.

Andrew Speaking at Gender Matters.

Jesus provokes us who have died to these solutions and now live for Him. We cannot celebrate the dead-end of sexualizing our injuries and unmet needs. In truth, we grieve and mourn and cry out for true justice. A godly congress-woman implored us to pray and fight for a delay of the bill which slam dunked the lower house 187-0 and is scheduled to go before the Senate mid-December. Wise senators are working hard for this delay in order to buy time in which to rouse the Church—Philippine’s drowsy, distracted giant.

The Holy Spirit honored our gathering; His Presence summoned fresh repentance and many tears over this delusion and the traditional adulteries that broke ground for this rainbow psychosis. More than anything, we poured out our hearts for a generation who are being entombed by fake identities.

I recalled St. Andrew whose gift to us as the first apostle was a deep, child-like faith in Jesus and an immediate evangelistic impulse. Having beheld the Lamb, he directed his brother Peter to Jesus, declaring ‘We have found the Messiah’ (JN 1:35-42).

St Andrew reminded me that our Philippine advance was not first about politics or theology or psychology—it was for persons doomed to die unless merciful ones, endowed with true vision, direct them to Jesus. Scattered throughout our gathering were wide-eyed gender-benders alongside faithful friends. ‘They’ are us—wounded wonderful persons who will remain slaves until they discover the Father who alone has power to confirm us as His sons and daughters (Gal. 4:3-7).

‘When these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand’ (LK 21:28).

Please take time to watch our new video and become ‘Chaste Together.’

Download PDF

Saved by Beauty

‘This aspiration—born of love—is a search for integral beauty, for purity free from stain. It is a search for perfection that contains a synthesis of human beauty—body and soul.’ (Theology of the Body, St. John Paul ll)

As she sat in the morning light, hair shining silver, I realized that she had never been lovelier. All the years together, just shy of 40—and she more dignified and womanly than ever. I thought of the Rogers and Hammerstein lyric: ‘Do I love you because you are beautiful, or are you beautiful because I love you?’ and concluded nothing except life means little without her. Beautiful Annette, or better put, beautiful marriage, saved me.

Isn’t that idolatry? Doesn’t only Jesus save? Of course, only one Savior, but Jesus has given marriage power to permeate its players with His very Presence in a way that saves man and woman through their communion—body, soul, spirit. St. Paul likens sexual fusion between husband and wife to the ‘great mystery’ of Christ’s union with the Church. For years now, I have participated in this most holy, earthy communion with another; in so doing, Annette and I share in Jesus infusing His Church with divine presence. As Annette and I permeate each other with our self-giving, we are being saved—made holy through love as we ‘submit to each other out of reverence for Jesus’ (Eph. 5:21).

This flies in the face of charges—laughably foolish—that any person who has same-sex attraction cannot be redeemed in his or her sexuality. I came across an ad for the film ‘Boy Erased’ that ominously read: ‘The truth cannot be converted…’ Du, du, du, dumb. Talk about an inverted, uninspired worldview!

As our common enemy would have it, homosexuality, the big ‘H’, now subordinates Jesus to little ‘j’. For every sheep that drank the cool-aid and now believes all we can do for the LGBT+ set is to agree with their divided, sterile identifications—hear this: Jesus redeems us for beauty! And that means He has power to enable sinners from any fractured starting point to join the dance of life. Marital love with Jesus at center redeems persons who participate in it.

‘Boy Erased’ and the trendy assault on anyone who efforts to grow beyond sexual illusion reveal a loss of vision for human creativity and dignity. Not beautiful Jesus; He has never lost sight nor power to summon what He sees. That takes disciplined response, of course. Any good thing does. Becoming who I am is hard yet deeply fulfilling. I am not even tempted to trade my marriage and its unitive, creative power for a weird friendship with a dude. I was created and redeemed for beauty. Beauty saved me.

Please take time to watch our new video and become ‘Chaste Together.’

Download PDF

Gender Matters in the Philippines

May I please invite you all to pray for our daylong Gender Matters Conference in Manila, The Philippines on Saturday, Dec. 1st? Our gathering could not be timelier. This most Christian nation in Asia is now on the brink of following America’s horrid example of gender-bending civil rights. The Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression Law (SOGIE) has passed their lower house and goes before the Senate at the first of the year. If this passes, ‘gay marriage’ will follow.

In answer to the prayers of a united front of Christians, the voting was delayed. Now we have a chance to wake up Christians slumbering in regard to gender fluidity issues. Evangelicals and Catholics are being swayed by the spirit of the age into a fake tolerance, ‘to love in the name of freedom.’ Most believers have not considered the responsibility God places on us to glorify Him as the author of our true natures rather than to allow loved ones to build fake selves based on ever-morphing ‘feelings.’ We act in truth, or we will be judged for abetting our common enemy and hurting our loved ones.

Living Waters friends in The Philippines take their Christian responsibility seriously. They are paying a high price in sponsoring Gender Matters: our beloved leader there Benjie Cruz just broke his hip in a crazy accident that I believe is demonic. Please pray for all his staff members who are working like crazy to equip the Church in The Philippines to convey the heart of Jesus to the vulnerable. If the Church slumbers, fools will rush in and confirm persons into false selves. Psychological and spiritual destinies are at stake. Please pray:

1. For a huge turnout at our conference on Dec. 1st in Manila.
2. For protection on the LW staff and quickened healing for Benjie and family.
3. For the 7 astounding young adults on the LW staff who embody a range of gender brokenness and healing through Jesus and His community.
4. For the SOGIE bill to be defeated in the Senate.
5. For Christians throughout The Philippines to wake up and speak up before it’s too late.

Please take time to watch our new video and become ‘Chaste Together.’

Download PDF
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers: