Rousing Her Radiance: Day 1
‘Real love is neither static nor uncritical. If there is any possibility at all of changing another person for the better, then it is only by loving her and by slowly helping her to change from what she is to what she can be. Should it be any different with the Church?’- Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI
Jesus loved me into wholeness. His Church set me free. Free enough to help, not hinder, my loved ones. Like you, my heart still recalls and can be tempted by idols I sought in my divided state. But not for long. The unity of body, soul, and spirit Jesus won for me is my truest self.
Chaste Jesus won me. His Church surrounded me. Now chastity goads me to wholeness: more freedom, not less, as the Day approaches.
A loving Head and Body summoned the man of God’s design. Jesus neither made me nor died for me so I could squander my life in ‘gay’ pursuits. He made me for Himself. And He gave all to gain me. His eyes, blazing like the sun, finally broke through the familiar haze. Becoming free from sensational attachments and free for real love made the difference.
Chastity is its own reward. I loved being composed rather than agitated, infused by grace from those who believed for more than I could. I loved learning to help others know some facet of God’s love in this one Body. I loved living for Someone other than myself. Freedom. Integration.
Chastity wins. God doesn’t ask of us what He doesn’t free us to realize—one ‘yes’, one denial, one spiritual kiss at a time. Letting go and taking up can become the rhythm of our freedom. Chastity is our guide and the goal; not just for evidently divided ones, but for all. God wills it because He is preparing a people for Himself: humble and clear witnesses of the One who made us and is redeeming us in this One Body.
Let us seek uncompromising clarity on this chastity and the Church whose love liberates its attainment. A compromised Church cannot free captives; a mercifully clean Church can.
I am sitting on a plane next to my wife in route to a parish-based conference on chastity and healing. Even though Annette hates to travel, I love being next to her. And I love doing what I can to make this bumpy ride more bearable for her.
Chastity liberates this love for each other. It’s a solid track with electrified limits on which weak people can reach for more and become strong in love. Jesus makes the Way; His Church guides and guards the Way.
No Jesus, no wholeness. No Body, no chastity. As we begin this fast together, let us rouse ourselves and our communities to become radiant, a Bride ready for Her Bridegroom.
‘Dear Jesus, let freedom begin with us. We are your weak members, yet still responsible to let go and take up. Free us for more. May our love for You, and Yours for us, be reflected in how we love others.'
‘Father, we thank You for Jesus who established the Church on a Rock against which hell will not prevail (Matt 16:18). We pray for every Christian leader to build on Her firm foundation of sexual clarity and integrity. Father, unmask the deceiver and divider of Christians and unite us in one Spirit. As weak members of Christ, we ask for truth to guide our pursuit of sexual wholeness, for grace to sustain it, and for spiritual power to transform us. May we reflect the chaste radiance of Jesus (2 Cor. 3:18) as we “shine like stars in the universe, holding out the word of life” (Phil. 2:15-16) to a lost and hurting world.’