Tag Archives: Communion

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

November 13, 2014: Bridal Bath and Meal

‘On that day a fountain will be opened to cleanse the house of David, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, from sin and impurity.’ (Zech. 3:1)

The Cross and its fountain of blood and water (Jn 19:34) is the source of our cleansing. Immersed, God cleanses us in order to wed Himself to us. As Brant Pitre reminded us, the Cross is bridal—the way Jesus lays claim to us as His ‘spouse.’ He gave all to gain us at Calvary; there, He pledged His life as the evidence of His ardor and commitment to us. He prepares us for communion with Himself through the ‘living water’ released on the Cross. 

Consummation requires purity, just as any marriage couple understands. We want to be clean in body and spirit for each other in the marriage bed. How much more for persons who seek intimate communion with the living God? We first discover this cleansing through the waters of baptism. Then we revisit those waters over and over through the confession of our sins and the reception of forgiveness.

More than merely looking back on our baptism, confession invites the Spirit of Resurrection to stir those waters and to grant us a double portion of God’s grace to go forward and overcome the sin. Through a priest or elder, as well as through trustworthy prayer partners, we do our part ‘to stay in the spray’ of Calvary.

Each confession matures God’s sanctifying work in our lives; every admission of disintegration makes us more whole! I love confession because I know it is the one act I am always free to do that will contribute instantly to intimacy with God. That intimacy requires an ongoing bridal bath. The world is dirty and our hearts are not immune to its filth. Daily life necessitates ongoing confession.

We wash ourselves in holy water in order to partake of the holy meal. Confession precedes communion. And what a feast God has prepared for us! Both Brant Pitre and Christopher West have done marvelous jobs in helping us grasp how communion is a bridal meal, the gift of God that conveys to us and secures in us the spousal union God seeks with us.

Pitre writes: ‘If Jesus is the Bridegroom and the Church His Bride, then the Lord’s supper is a wedding banquet in which God gives Himself entirely to His Bride in a new and everlasting marriage covenant.’ Through His broken body and shed blood, Jesus unites Himself to us His bride. That meal is the ongoing way we participate in and celebrate again our spousal bond—God dwelling with humanity through His sacrificial pledge of love. ‘The sincere gift of the Sacrifice of the Cross gives prominence to the spousal meaning of God’s love…the Eucharist is the Sacrament of our Redemption, and of the Bridegroom and the Bride.’ (JPll)

The world distorts our appetites, at once exaggerating and deadening real desire. Communion reminds us of whose we are; it invites us to partake of the very One who alone has power to reorder our desires around perfect Love. The bridal bath and meal grants us the grace to become a holy spouse–good gifts to Himself and others.

‘Let Him kiss me with the kisses of His mouth.’ (Song of Sol 1:2)

Please join us as we pray for:

  1. Eastern Midwest Region, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Amy Van Cott – Coordinator:  For strength and vision for Amy, for existing groups and to see new groups established.
  2. International Theology of the Body Congress (www.tobcongress.com): Advance for beautiful teachings of John Paul II throughout the world.
  3. Denver Diocese: Discernment for timing and team of new Living Waters group.

“Courage for Pastor Phil Strout (National Director Vineyard USA), that he would ensure that the Church becomes a clear fountain of transformation for persons with same-sex attraction!”

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD BLOGS & PRAYER POINTS FOR NOV. 12, 13, 14, 15

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Ache of God

Praying 40 days for repentance over sexual sin would be a vain task unless we encountered His ache of love for us.

Prayer unites us with His ache. Beneath His cross, we witness silently His naked broken body. Like rain from heaven, blood and water flow into our shameful nakedness and unites us with the Love that seeks nothing other than our good. Sexual sinners like you and I concur tearfully with Pope Benedict: ‘Any talk of love must begin with the open side of Christ.’

He aches for us, for our good, hating sin (never us!) only because it destroys us. So He pours Himself out generously, and awaits the time when we might stop beneath His cross and satisfy our misdirected appetites on Love alone.

He aches for us! He wants communion with us! Have you ever felt the acute pain of betrayal when a mere creature violated his/her covenant with you? How much more does our Creator ache when we bypass Him for a mere human image of Himself?

Having suffered to secure us in Love, He wants to waste none of His sorrows. He aches for us to abide beneath the cross, to linger there. He wants to reorient us around His ache for us; He delights when we soak in the water that cleanses and refreshes us, the blood that becomes our new life. We fulfill His ache when we welcome His passion as the foundation of our lives.

40 days of focused prayer may not be enough to reorient us wholly around His ache. But it’s a good start. And when we with broken hearts kneel before the cross welcome the fruit of His broken heart for us, we learn to pray for others.

God gives us His ache for the lonely and the lost; we grieve with Him for those wasting themselves on mere images of God. God wants them, Father to child, Bridegroom to bride. Prayer changes us by orienting us around His ache: first for us, and through our prayers, for the people He made and longs to redeem.

‘How beautiful you are, my darling. Oh, how beautiful! Show me your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face lovely.’ (S of S 2:2, 14)

Please join us starting Friday, September 28th, for our 40 days of repentance. You can download the PDF of the entire 40-day devotional now at : pray.desertstream.org.

If you want us to email you the PDF, or to send you a paper copy of the devotional, email Ann at aarmstrong@desertstream.org.

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Mercy Rising (on trembling legs…)

Join us today at 3pm (CST) as we intercede for loved ones in need of God’s mercy.

Mercy Rising (on trembling legs…)

40 Days of Mercy Devotional – Lent 2012 – Day 22

I know that the grain of wheat must be ground between millstones in order to become food. In the same way, I must be crushed in order to be useful to the Church and to souls. (641)

The Church is founded on forgiveness. Peter is a personal embodiment of this truth, for he is permitted to be the bearer of the keys, after having stumbled, confessed, and received the grace of pardon. Behind the talk of authority, God’s power appears as Mercy and thus is the foundation stone of the Church. Pope Benedict, Called to Communion

Simon Peter, Satan has asked to sift you like wheat. But I have prayed for you, Peter, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers. (Lk.22: 31, 32)

Jesus, we agree with You that sin crushes us. Thank You for not crushing us as a penalty for our sin; thank You for granting us Mercy. Only in Mercy can we repent and come to a full knowledge of the Truth. You are that Truth, Jesus. In the words of Peter, where else will we go? You are the key to our lives, the antidote to our sin and the secret of a future lived in union with You. Make us Merciful, as You were merciful to Peter and to us. Like Peter, may we  represent well the truth that ‘Mercy is the foundation stone of the Church.’

For the complete 40 Days of Mercy Devotional – Lent 2012, click here to download.  For a paper copy, United States only, please call Desert Streams Ministries at (866) 359-0500. 

Author’s note – Each day’s entry is based a passage from St Faustina’s diary. The passage entry from the diary is the number in parentheses at the end of each opening quote. Diary of St Maria Faustina Kowalska – Divine Mercy in My Soul (Association of Marion Helpers, Stockbridge, MA 01263) is available through the publisher or Amazon.com

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Mercy’s Sacrifice

Join us today at 3pm (CST) as we intercede for loved ones in need of God’s mercy.

Mercy’s Sacrifice

40 Days of Mercy Devotional – Lent 2012 – Day 21

How sad I am that souls do not recognize Love. They treat Me as a dead object. (1385)

Do you despise the Church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? … A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread or drinks of the cup. (1 Corinthians 11:22, 28)

Jesus, thank You for Your Sacrifice of Mercy. We need it now more than ever! In Your Mercy, unite our divided hearts and make us whole in one-Spirit communion with You. Free us also for merciful communion with one another. Free us to love as You have loved us. We pray also for those persisting in sin, without repentance. Open hearts to their true hunger and true home at Table with You.

For the complete 40 Days of Mercy Devotional – Lent 2012, click here to download.  For a paper copy, United States only, please call Desert Streams Ministries at (866) 359-0500. 

Author’s note – Each day’s entry is based a passage from St Faustina’s diary. The passage entry from the diary is the number in parentheses at the end of each opening quote. Diary of St Maria Faustina Kowalska – Divine Mercy in My Soul (Association of Marion Helpers, Stockbridge, MA 01263) is available through the publisher or Amazon.com

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Mercy’s Meal

Join us today at 3pm (CST) as we intercede for loved ones in need of God’s mercy.

Mercy’s Meal

40 Days of Mercy Devotional – Lent 2012 – Day 20

Jesus, may Your pure and healthy blood circulate in my ailing organism, and may Your pure and healthy body transform my weak body, and may a healthy, vigorous life throb within me… (1089)

Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. (Isaiah 55:2)

Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood remains, abides, and dwells with Me, and I remain, abide, and dwell with him/her. (Jn. 6:54-56)

Jesus, thank you for Your Holy Meal. You died to give us this gift of life. You rose to raise us up through it. May we never take communion for granted but approach it with child-like faith and adult sobriety. Let Mercy have its perfect way in us through these elements that embody You, Merciful God. Make us Merciful and generous like You, through You.

For the complete 40 Days of Mercy Devotional – Lent 2012, click here to download.  For a paper copy, United States only, please call Desert Streams Ministries at (866) 359-0500. 

Author’s note – Each day’s entry is based a passage from St Faustina’s diary. The passage entry from the diary is the number in parentheses at the end of each opening quote. Diary of St Maria Faustina Kowalska – Divine Mercy in My Soul (Association of Marion Helpers, Stockbridge, MA 01263) is available through the publisher or Amazon.com

Download PDF
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