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:
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.
International Theology of the Body Congress (www.tobcongress.com): Advance for beautiful teachings of John Paul II throughout the world.
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!”