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Mercy for the Church

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

Mercy for the Church

40 Days of Mercy Devotional – Lent 2012 – Day 34

What a joy it is to be a faithful child of the Church! O how much I love Holy Church and all those who live in it! I look upon them as living members of Christ, who is their Head. I burn with love with those You love; I suffer with those who suffer. I am consumed with sorrow with those who are cold and ungrateful. (511)

Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to those through whom they come. It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. So watch yourselves. (Lk. 17: 1-3)

Jesus, give us Your heart for Your body. Open our eyes to her beauty and her brokenness, that we might love her well. Make us mature gifts to the Church; help us to discern both good and evil, and to love her wisely with all the Mercy You have shown us in our many contradictions.

I put up with this Church in the hope that one day it will become better, just as it is constrained to put up with me in the hope that one day I will become better. Erasmus

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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Merciful Eyes

Day 38 of our 40 Days of Mercy Fast

Merciful Eyes

‘To see the image of God in every sister—all love of neighbor must flow from this motive.’ (861)

How we see others must be anchored in how God sees them. ‘To love a person means to see him as God intends him to be,’ in the words of Dostoevsky.

Above all else, God wants us to walk in the dignity of bearing His image and likeness. That means all men and women represent Him in their humanity; such a high call distinguishes us from the rest of creation. Sin may have struck down the apparent dignity of that image, but cannot destroy it. Our true sight of others summons that dignity!

All we know from a purely biblical perspective is that ‘image-bearing’ involves men and woman together ( Genesis 1:26, 27 ). That radical duality of male and female is the essence of ‘image-bearing’ and the foundation of all humanity. In order to be true to God’s call, each ‘image-bearer’ must mature into whole-enough heterosexual relating. By whole-enough, I mean the freedom to offer oneself as a good gift to the opposite gender, thus honoring the difference and creating harmony at such an essential level of relating.

In today’s gender-bending age, the goal of whole heterosexuality is viewed as unjust to all who have constructed an identity along the continuum of gender brokenness: from asexuality to bisexuality to homosexuality to transgender identity and beyond. As never before in history, we have created multiple gender options on which broken, rebellious people fashion a ‘self.’

But personhood has its source in God, not in human wishes and desires. And we as God’s people must see this as He does. Otherwise, we become worldly in our sight, agreeing with those who operate in deception, not under truth but under the enemy of God’s image in humanity.

In order to break his schemes in the lives of loved ones, we must ask God to give us eyes to see the authentic man or woman before us. We can view him/her according to God’s true intentions. Our love and prayers, anchored in the truth of what it means to bear His image, must never lose sight of the true man and woman waiting to emerge from the shadows of gender brokenness.

These are the eyes of Mercy, through which Christ saw a generation ‘harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.’ ( Matthew 9:36 ) Such are a people who celebrate the gay and transgender self, not realizing the death that confirms upon the true man or woman.

In Mercy we see that true humanity and its captive state; in Mercy we prayerfully call them to Jesus for His redemption of that true image.

St. Paul helps us here. He viewed true personhood solely through the lens of Christ Crucified and Resurrected. So powerful was his understanding of what the Cross had accomplished to redeem fallen humanity that he implores us: ‘From now on, we regard no-one from a worldly point of view…If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!’ ( 2 Cor. 5:16, 17 )

We need to see broken loved ones who are estranged from God’s will through the Cross. That is the grid of grace, the lens of Mercy. We see at once the beauty of God’s best for him/her and the brokenness. Our hope is sure. What He accomplished at Calvary to set the beloved free is ever before us.

We cast down every worldly tradition that raises itself above God’s will, and we rest, trusting Him to reclaim His image in humanity.

‘May I never boast except in the Cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world…what counts is a new creation. Peace and Mercy to all who follow this rule.’ (Gal. 6:14-16)

‘Jesus, grant us merciful sight for the lost and deeply loved. Anchor our sight in the truth of Your good will and intention for every man and woman. Grant us a cross-shaped lens: compassion for the brokenness of that image, faith in Your power to raise the true person up from the false.’ 

Author’s note – Each day’s entry is based a passage from St Faustina’s diary. The passage entry is the number in parentheses at the end of each opening quote or simply a page number in parenthesis. 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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Awakening the Church, Persuading Men

“All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”

Edmund Burke

“Since we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men.” (2Cor. 5:11)

It is time for the Church to arise, humble in mercy, clear in truth—ready to act on behalf of righteousness. Paul continuously implores the church to lay aside the ‘darkness’ of the culture, referring to sexual immorality, and to arise in the light of God’s holiness. Paul urges us to shine on behalf of a people living in great darkness who will perish unless we take a stand for righteousness.

“And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now then when we first believed. The night is nearly over, the day is almost here. So let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.” (Romans 13:11, 12)

“Wake up, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. Be careful how you live, not as unwise, but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” (Eph. 5:14-16)

Paul urges us to become “blameless and pure, children without fault in a crooked and perverse generation, so we can shine like lights in the universe as we hold out the word of life.” (Phil. 2:15, 16)

Honoring marriage is one such ‘word of life.’ In light of the ‘gay marriage’ crisis, God is rousing us as the body of Christ to act–to act humbly and persuasively on behalf of marriage. We must make the truth known to our neighbors and colleagues, to risk being seen as ‘intolerant’ in order to fortify the most important relationship on earth.

We must awaken to the truth: marriage in CA is in peril. And its precarious position puts at risk all who are impacted by marriage: every single one of us.

We must act today by imploring all in our midst to vote YES on Proposition 8 and to ensure that we do the same. God has given us one chance to define marriage in the CA constitution as one man pledged for one woman. This is our only and last chance to do so. We must act now.

Consider the stakes if we do not stop ‘gay marriage’:

Opens Doors to Radical Social Influence upon our Youth: Massachusetts initiated gay marriage in 2003 and their public schools began to instruct youth accordingly. That includes a story book read to 2nd graders on 2 princes who marry, kiss each other, and become ‘King and King.’ Recently, a public school in San Francisco escorted a first grade class on a field trip to City Hall in order to witness a lesbian wedding officiated by Mayor Gavin Newsom.

Opens Doors to Other Types of Marriage: If gender becomes negotiable in the definition of marriage, then why not number of marital partners, or age of consent in marriage? Though we cannot imagine that now, could you have imagined gay marriage even ten years ago? Proponents of polygamy are currently battling for legal recognition using the exact same arguments employed by ‘gay marriage’ advocates.

Man has never been able to keep to one level of evil; the road goes down and down.

C.K. Chesterton

Opens Doors to ‘Gay Marriage’ throughout the USA: CA is arguably the most powerful state in the USA. Its Supreme Court decisions usually become standard decisions throughout the other states. If we allow the Court decision to stand, a flood of judicial and legislative activity on behalf of ‘gay marriage’ will drench the nation.

If we stop it, then we restrain that flood. The choice is ours.

Opens Doors to ‘Gay Marriage’ throughout the Globe: As I travel abroad, I am keenly aware that a host of other nations have ‘gay marriage’ legislation in the works. They are looking to CA. Especially Christians who may feel less powerful politically than we do in the USA. Given a chance to act, will CA act on behalf of God’s will for marriage?

The question other nations raise is this: can a faith-filled nation like the USA counter the radical gay agenda? If we will not do it, what hope do they have of countering forces over which they may have less power?

What will CA do? Will we the people arise and refuse ‘gay marriage?’ Doing so sets a precedent for our nation and for the nations of the earth. By honoring marriage, we set a precedent that honors God and His creation. By not refusing ‘gay marriage’, we set a precedent for perversion.

Honor Marriage for the good of all. Vote YES on Proposition 8.

“Father, the state of marriage, the state of CA, the United States, and the nations of the earth hang in the balance. Rouse Your saints, O God. Awaken the righteous from their sleep. As we fear You, O God, let us also persuade men in this critical hour. Shine on us as we arise in righteousness on behalf of marriage. Be glorified in our prayers and actions. May we demonstrate mercy mixed with godly fear through upholding marriage in the state of CA.”

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The Greater Love Story

Marriage is pre-political. It did not originate in any one nation, under any one government. It was born in the heart of the Creator. He created humanity as male and female and described them together as manifesting His image upon the earth. God dared to represent Himself in the union of one man for one woman.

That is audacious! Knowing our propensity for misusing power in the name of love, God entrusted humanity to manifest who He is in how man honors woman, and how woman honors man. Marriage is the main and plain of that manifestation; it is the window on earth of something akin to God, the Creator Himself!

But creation is only the first part of how significant marriage is in the divine plan; redemption rounds out the powerful good of man for woman and woman for man.

Jesus describes Himself as the bridegroom who gave Himself up (His death on the cross) for His bride, the Church. He will come again in order to become one with her. In the meantime, He as the bridegroom is serving and loving us, His bride, in order to make us ready for His return. That return is the consummation of God’s plan of redemption that began on the cross.

Marriage matters: it conveys the essence of who God is, and how He is towards us, His people. Theologian Christopher West writes in The Love that Satisfies:

The Bible begins in Genesis with the marriage of the first man and woman, and ends in Revelation with another ‘marriage’: the union of Christ and the Church…The whole story of our salvation is contained between the love initiated by the bridegroom and the response of the bride…These nuptial bookends area key for interpreting all that lies between. (p.12)

In other words, marriage manifests God. Marriage supports and protects a whole union between a man and woman; that union is a window to God. As we shall see, marriage reveals something about Him. It makes known an aspect of His personhood.

How a man loves a woman in marriage helps us to understand how God wants to prepare us, His bride, for an increasingly pure, passionate relationship with Himself.

As a man initiates and loves a woman, and as a woman responds to that love, rounding out the whole, so does God seek to love us into wholeness.

Marriage is one key to knowing and honoring God. It reveals His plan for creation and redemption. California, vote YES on Prop. 8. Honor Marriage for the Good of All.

“Who can know Your mysteries, O God? Thank you for giving us marriage as one of the keys that helps us understand who You are, how You love, and what You plan for us.”

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Marriage: The Most Important Relationship on Earth

Every human being is deeply and persistently impacted by the relationship shared by his or her parents.

Most had parents who were married; the man and woman who created the child made a decision to not only join bodies but lives. Invoking both the authority of the state and God, most parents committed to a permanent and faithful relationship.

Marriage is the most influential and creative unit on earth; it is the building block of human civilization. One may be secondarily impacted by numerous institutions. None will leave its mark more profoundly than who father was for mother, and who mother was for father.

That’s why every culture recognizes marriage and elevates it over all other erotic unions. We are wise to do so. Marriage provides the best chance humanity has to provide the boundaries for men and women to create a stable and loving context for the fruit of their union—a child, the beginning of every human being on the planet.

Mike Mason writes in his excellent book The Mystery of Marriage:
“A good marriage is the closest thing on earth to the realization of a practical, enduring, and loving coexistence between people. It is a sign of love, patience, and forgiveness that is unknown in other spheres of life…Marriage is the test case, the leading edge of love in the world…Good marriage is the foundation of society.” (p. 86)

We honor every human being on the planet by fighting for marriage. That fight can occur on many fronts including the political. That means ensuring that the state and its laws do everything possible to recognize and support marriage. The state should protect marriage: it is the foundation of the family, the unit most responsible for producing solid citizens.

Marriage, defined universally and historically as one man for one woman, pledged to permanence and fidelity, is under fire. Gay activists and their sympathizers are seeking to make it their own. That alters the DNA of the most important relationship on earth. In shifting the boundary lines for holy matrimony, same-sex ‘marriage’ looses confusion and deception into the foundation of real marriage and thus into our civilization.

For the sake of everyone, let us make every effort to reclaim the powerful good of marriage. Yes, the institution is battered. Struck down by myriad opponents, including the California Supreme Court who in May legalized gay ‘marriage’, we who have ears to hear and eyes to see have an opportunity to defend her and honor her. We do so for the good of all. California, vote YES on Proposition 8. Honor Marriage for the Good of All.

“O God, give us sight. Show us Your vision for marriage. Free us for hindsight–the long view behind us of traditional marriage. Free us also for foresight–the millions yet to come who will be powerfully impacted by their experience of marriage.”

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