Tag Archives: John Paul 11

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

All Saints Day

Last week, November 1st, the day the Church honors her members on earth and heaven, we buried my son Nick’s second child Elizabeth in a small plot next to her brother Luke. She outlived him by two weeks. Surrounded by the great cloud of witnesses? (Heb. 12:1) Light penetrated our dismal gathering only by faith.

We had lived with her death for three weeks: numb, uncomprehending. Lamenting for Luke two years earlier was easier; this was more of a dull ache. It remains unfathomable. Two parents should not be admitted to the hospital twice to experience life’s greatest miracle only to return home empty-handed. The dance became a dirge. Twice!

Yes Jesus smashed the head of sin and death. But evil still slithers and strikes. Such cruelty is senseless.

Annette and I longed to bear our kids’ burden. That makes sense: we have more cross-bearing experience. Yet their suffering is uniquely theirs. That is our pain: to walk with them, helpless to change anything. We can only come alongside and pray and hope that the snakebite does not destroy something precious in them.

I cannot describe how proud we are of Nick and Meg. They were awesome parents to both Luke and Elizabeth. The decision after Luke’s death to try again took guts. They gave it their all and endured with dignity the indignity of losing Elizabeth. Together. They share a quiet, profound reliance upon each other.

The All Saints Mass reminded me that the communion of saints is as earthy as the soil in which we interred Elizabeth. We may not have answers but we have each other. And we have help from heaven. Later that day I remembered my favorite saints fighting now for our endurance: Bruno, Francis, Faustina, John Paul II, Therese. I am grateful for their battles, their snakebites, the fires they endured for the joy set before them. They help us. I feel little but know that we are surrounded.

‘The help we receive from heaven is like an invisible yet mighty river of life.’
Cardinal Schonborn

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October 21: Freedom from Sin is Freedom for Life

‘The Cross becomes a new center of gravity for bringing together what is divided.’ Pope Emeritus Benedict

Anyone who wrestles with sexual sin (or been impacted by those who do) understands the divided soul. On the one hand, we long to give ourselves to others meaningfully, with integrity; on the other hand, we are driven and derided by vanities. These addictions are distortions of what is good—each of us, no matter what our sins, has ceased to be a good gift for others. But split off from that value, our needs for love and significance become mistaken for erotic ones and we cease to do the hard work necessary to value a whole person. Divided souls unwittingly divide others and become users.

The good news: Jesus Christ has the last word on disordered desire. In his amazing book ‘Heart of the Gospel’, Christopher West contends that Christ’s death and resurrection can transform our desires by liberating our hearts from the domination of lust. No matter how deep the soul’s divide, or the misbegotten desires that flow from it: Jesus longs to unite Himself to our humanity and so restore His life-giving purposes for it.

That has huge implications for our sexuality, as God has given our bodies, in the words of John Paul ll, the awesome power ‘to express love, and precisely that love in which the human person becomes a gift and through this gift fulfills the very nature of his being and existence.’

God reconciles us to the gift that we are! For me, that means that I am not free unless I am reconciled to the generative, focused power of my masculine sexuality and am intent on working that out lovingly in relation to the opposite gender. No small thing for a person divided by gender inferiority and same-gender attraction! The same applies to a woman who for very good reasons has no reason to believe that a man is or could be a good gift to her humanity.

That man has come, and His name is Christ Jesus. His purpose at Calvary was to pull up the dividing walls of sin (in all its facets) and to unite one new humanity (Eph.2:14-18). That applies both to our personal and interpersonal commitments. I can say without shadow that the unity my wife and I experience after 33 years together has become the earthy, creative ground of our common existence. Its abundance leaves ‘gay’ life in the dust.

Let’s not empty the Cross of its power. For the ‘homosexual’ and others under lust’s power, the Gospel is life-shaking, life-giving news.

Join us as we pray for:

1. Texas, Dean Greer, Coordinator: For new regional leadership to be identified and raised-up, for existing groups and for new groups to be established.

2. Christian Concern (www.christianconcern.org) United Kingdom: For the Lord’s protection and provision for Christian Concern as they stand for religious freedom in a secular society.

3. Syracuse Diocese: Discernment for timing and team of new Living Waters group.

“Courage for Pope Francis, that he would ensure that the Church becomes a clear fountain of transformation for persons with same-sex attraction!”


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