Tag Archives: Fire

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

Home Fires

OK, OK, I love my wife and kids and dogs and house. But I am most at home before the One. During these days of Christmas, my eyes are fixed on the little baby in the cow stall; I bow in worship. He is the Lord. He is no mere extension of my religious imagination, nor a sentimental reminder of Christmases past. From the manger He burns with fire that unites crib to charismatic signs to cross. He is God, I am not, and as I bow I find peace. I am at home.

True worship results from gratitude but requires holy fear. My welcome of Jesus’ coming espouses me to His Father in an intimate bond of love and at the same time makes me His son (Gal. 4:3-7). Only God could do that. A wise-man said that reverencing the Christ-child celebrates our own new birth. Yet if I fail to realize that this babe is the Creator/Redeemer of all then my worship is in vain. My ‘home’ becomes a house built on sand.

Godly fear is a forgotten value. Whiners who cry injustice selfishly trivialize real trauma, abuse and harassment; they lose their home. A real homecoming requires that we deny our demands and give Him highest place. We unruly sheep need to stop bleating and bow. Hear Fr Alfred Delp on godly fear: ‘Man must learn again–really, personally, practically, and daily—to reckon God as the ultimate category of reality, as the decisive judgment of all that exists….We have lost this category [of godly fear]. We are no longer a people of clarity who know about this one Lord and who stand in simplicity without usurping the Lord’s rights, without betraying our duty to Him, or bargaining. Fear of God…means knowing the absolute, inalienable dominion of the Lord of all.’

Only out of godly fear can we grasp the miracle of Him drawing near to us. The other day in Adoration (when Catholics adore Jesus in the Eucharist) I felt led to meditate on John 6:53-55 where Jesus makes explicit how He becomes our home: ‘I tell you the truth, unless eat the flesh of Son of Man and drink His blood you have no life in you…For My flesh is real food and My blood is real drink. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides/dwells/remains in Me and I abide/dwell/remain in him.’

Wow. Adoring Jesus in tears over the abuse scandalizing the Church, I experienced a new power, a burning in my belly as if Christ-in-me was intensifying and would not be diminished by the devils of a few. Rather than forsake my Church home, Jesus was becoming my home in order to fight for His bride. I recalled Jesus’ words ‘Without Me you can do nothing’ (JN 15:5b) then joyfully realized the converse: ‘With Him I can do everything [He asks]!’

I prayed with new authority for the Church in her season of shaking. Delp again: ‘The time of the great intercessors has come. Prayer does not mean some Quietist approach dispensing us from action and responsibility. To the contrary, this is a much harder principle of action. The time of pure action, consecrated from within has come. The precept of Ignatius…says that the interior life must fill and support the exterior life and make it fruitful….Today more than ever, action, commitment and achievement must unfold from devoted worship.’

Let His burning love infuse ours as we pray. Never alone, we can bear what He asks. And burn. Nothing less than His fiery love will grant us peace and pierce the darkness.

‘We should not avoid the burdens God gives us. They lead us into the blessing of God. To those who remain faithful to the hard life, the interior springs of reality will be unsealed…The silver threads of God’s mysteries within everything that is real begin sparkling and singing…

God becomes man. Man does not become God. The human order remains and continues to be our duty, but it is consecrated. And man has become something more, something mightier. Let us trust life because this night must lead to light. Let us trust life because we do not have to live it alone. God lives it with us.’
Fr. Alfred Delp’s last Christmas meditation from prison, 1944.

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

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blazing love

Blazing Love

‘Everyone will be salted with fire.’ (MK 9:49)

I met Ross a couple of years ago and could tell by his puzzled yet open face that he knew little about religion, for better or worse. He did seem attentive to my offering that God—a Father—cared for him and wanted the best for him. It made sense to Ross that if God had set him on course in the first place then He probably did care how his life turned out.

Over the next couple of years, I prayed often for Ross and encouraged him when I could. I could not read his detours precisely. He did confess to drinking way too much and his ache seemed open to both genders. I did not know; in these days of gender gymnastics, I neither trust my ‘gay-dar’ nor do I believe in boxing someone into dead-ended categories. I cared for him as an estranged son of the Father.

Some days his hangovers made him look 10 years older; other days he looked expectant, especially when his lucrative job promised more money. Yet I could see a longing in him for something more. Maybe that’s why he did not avoid me when I came around.

Yesterday in prayer, the Father re-ignited His desire for Ross in my heart. I knew it was the Holy Spirit. I agreed with God that if I ran into him I would act decisively. Sure enough, when I bumped into Ross and he told me that he was soon leaving Kansas City for a job offer elsewhere, holy fire blazed in my heart and I prophesied over him with tears. I reconfirmed the Father’s good will to give him a future and a hope, to free him from robbers who wanted his blood.

Blazing love broke ground in Ross. He expressed a desire to know more about Jesus and His Father before he leaves town. At least he knows now that the Father loves him and desires more for him.

There is a lot of talk in the Church today about loving ‘gays’ but very little is said about our need for the Spirit’s power in doing so. The strongholds of sin are too thick to break through, our own unbelief too great, without blazing love–the flame of the Father’s heart enkindled in our prayers and stoked into a torch by the union of His Spirit with ours.

‘Salt us with Your fire for estranged sons and daughters everywhere, Holy God.’

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October 31: Transformation of Desire

‘Therefore I urge you, brothers, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of the world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.’ (Rom. 12: 1, 2)

Our wounds and lusts must pass through the fire of the Cross. Holy love purges every disciple. And every part of us is impacted by the fire. He who withholds no good thing from us asks that we yield up everything to the flames so that what is false might be exposed and burned up. What remains is the truth: the golden, imperishable truth of the self that lives only in grateful dependence upon Jesus.

The purging that prepares us for deeper, more authentic communion with our Bridegroom can only be described as a wound of love. It is born of love and intended to anchor us more securely in love alone.

Here we can and must draw from two vital traditions. Evangelicals are utterly clear in the Cross as the way to salvation—God’s costly yet free gift in the God who shed His blood to reclaim our lives. Catholics tend to emphasize the sanctifying work of the Cross as we imitate Christ in following Him through the sufferings of this life. The fire of divine love insists on both: we enter in through the fire of Another’s obedience and we are changed as we surrender to those flames. We enter through the Cross and we become like Him as we accept the little crosses that wound us and invite us to lean on our Beloved.

Through the fire we are changed. Conversion is a lifetime process of cleansing and being conformed to Himself. I experience this in two ways. My love for others has changed as I become aware of many motives that draw me toward some and distance me from others. Jesus purifies me constantly in love of neighbor so that my offering to persons I serve might be purely good.

That is especially true of love for persons to whom I am sexually attracted. I must ask myself: am I willing to sacrifice what pleases me in order to give another what (s)he needs? My King teaches me to be self-aware and yet impartial, motivated by the other’s good (including my wife’s!) I shall carry that good cross all my days, for love’s sake.

Secondly, I ask Jesus for His heart constantly for His Church, His Bride. It is all too easy to mutter against her or simply to detach from her due to myriad disappointments. I ask Jesus constantly for His desire for her to become mine, which requires that He purge me of cool love. Through a painting, He gave me a vision of a beautiful bride in white, who had stumbled then tumbled into a stream.

She looked startled as she sat with a torn and muddied dress in a couple feet of water. Broken by the fall, she was nevertheless exquisite and right in the middle of where she needed to be—the cleansing flow of Her Bridegroom’s love for her.

We are her; to love her is to have mercy on ourselves. In this long engagement, in between betrothal and consummation with our King, we do well to welcome His cleansing and extend it quickly to His members on either side of us in the stream.

Please join us as we pray for:

1. Georgia, Bev Gammalo – Coordinator: For strength and vision for Bev, for existing groups and to see new groups established.

2. Aguas Vivas: Bayamon, Puerto Rico, Miguel & Elisabeth – Coordinators: Direction for timing and team for future groups as they finish second ContraCorriente pilot with church leaders.

3. RHN: CPR Outreach, Sheila Wisler, acting director: search for a new director and whether to attend Living Waters training.

“Courage for Reverend Justin Welby (Archbishop of Canterbury), 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 OCTOBER 31, NOV. 1, 2, 3.

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