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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Comiskey

No Gimmicks Part 1

‘Something is true not because the Church teaches it. The Church teaches something because it is true,’ as quoted by Fr. Paul Check.


A Dominican priest wondered why a host of new ministries now claim to be the best way to help the sexually broken.


He thought out loud: ‘Doesn’t the Church already provide the Way?’

Marco and I pondered his words. And agreed. It’s been our ethos at Desert Stream for the last 44 years. Not only does every Living Waters group need to be part of a faith community, but its goal is to strike and arrange Church chords that compose wholeness.


Nothing new under the sun. No gimmicks. We just strike the Rock like needy kids and welcome the Water that makes all things new.


Christ-Centered Chastity 

Church has always upheld real robust chastity as the goal of our healing, a gift made possible by the transforming power of the Holy Spirit (CCC #2345). Chastity IS sexual wholeness: successful integration of one’s deep longings, the unity of humanity in one’s body and spirit (CCC #2337).


Impossible without Jesus; chastity, rightly understood (and most haven’t), is a call to conversion! We may begin by seeking freedom from disturbing symptoms but what we get is Jesus. He wants more than to reform conflictual desires or a few bad habits. He wants you! Surrender to Christ Crucified is the way forward.


Chastity is Binary

Church is clear that all of humanity––single and married, young and old––represents God (Imago Dei) in successfully integrating the truth of man for woman, woman for man. ‘Sexuality becomes personal and truly human when it is integrated into the relationship of one person to another…in the mutual gift of a man and woman’ (CCC #2337).


Chastity involves at core being reconciled to one’s sexual gift and offering it to the other; this mutual submission out of reverence for Jesus (Eph. 5:21) is a rule of life—an adventure of discovery that’s neither stunted by singleness nor won in marriage.


Living Waters provides a safe AND dynamic training ground for those disinclined toward such gift-giving. Sensitive men and women compose a team that invites everyone to receive wisdom and healing from both sexes. Chastity flourishes in such a binary milieu, a window as to what the Church is and can always do better.


Preparation for the Eucharist      

Church is all about prepping for love. And no other expression of worship rivals partaking of Jesus’ own Body and Blood. We need help to get ready for love, especially when we are bound to sins against chastity. I take seriously St. Paul’s warning: don’t partake of Jesus unworthily (1 Cor. 11:27-32).


Yes, the Eucharist is ‘medicine for the weak, not a prize for the perfect’ (Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium 47), but in the same breath, I want to hunger for what is right, wash my heart, and so show love for the One I long for most. I can’t do that when I am united to idols. We come weak and hungry to the table, not wickedly, in presumption.


When we fail, sacramental confession is a necessary, welcomed clean-up for the big meal. But frankly, I need more than absolution—I need resolution. The priest cannot be the sole force that breaks us free from the power of lifelong idolatry. To overcome strongholds of sin, we need to access the ‘one another’ of the Body.


Living Waters provides a sound context for becoming known and empowered by a handful of friends with whom we covenant to live free, one day at a time. We prevent poisoning. Such community—rightly structured—can grant one freedom from mortal sin, and freedom for the deepest expression of intimacy offered by the Church.


Chastity is Self-Mastery, a training in human freedom (CCC #2339). Living Waters helps us to know this Jesus through and for whom we learn to govern our passions. This is liberated by the Eucharist, which in turn prepares weak people to welcome more of Jesus’ integrating power.              


No gimmicks. We align with Jesus and Church, drink of Her abundance, train in Her teachings together, and become faithful sons and daughters. We are learning to love the whole of broken people, including ourselves. Holy. Heavenly. This is much more than solving a personal problem. Chastity is a Promise of Immortality (CCC #2347).   

Join Andrew on Desert Streaming each week as he dives deeper into his blog. Watch here or listen on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.


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