Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, I also send you.” 22 After saying this, he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” John 20:21-23 (CSBBible)
Jesus, breathe Thy spirit on me,
Teach me how to breathe Thee in,
Help me pour into Thy bosom
All my life of self and sin.
Pious Exercise to acquire the Proper Disposition for making a good Confession
To prepare ourselves well for confession, we should retire from every external source of distraction, go either to a church or an oratory, place ourselves in the presence of God, and make the following act:
Act of Adoration
Supreme and adorable Majesty, God of heaven and earth, I firmly believe that Thou art present, and that Thou seest me and knowest the dispositions of my heart. I adore Thee and render Thee my humble homage, acknowledging Thee for my God, my Creator, and my Sovereign Redeemer. In testimony of this my faith, I prostrate my soul and body before the throne of Thy Infinite Majesty, and offer Thee the adoration which is due to Thee alone.
For Tillich, the realities to which the biblical and traditional symbols pointed are still present today. Over time, however, the biblical and historic language of the Christian community has lost much of its power to evoke the living experience that it had in earlier times.
O EVERLASTING, Merciful God, Heavenly Father, I beseech Thee to grant Thy Holy Spirit unto all who are entrusted to my ministry. Give them grace to know Thee and Jesus Christ, Thy Son whom Thou hast sent; enable them to remain steadfast in the true faith, to grow in grace and love, and to serve Thee with humble and penitent lives. And grant unto me, O Lord, grace to teach them Thy Word in truth, and to set before them an example of godly living.
Tillich was correct, the reality of Scripture is not lost in this time. Andyet, the arning about language is concerning. The Spirit is able to work, still cutting open people’s hearts, cleansing them out, dwelling within them, even as the Spirit did in the Apostles.
Do my words, or the way I speak them, get in the way? I pray it is not so, even as Loehe – a Lutheran pastor from the 1800’s did. There are times when I wonder if I miss this or that, and I fear that somehow I’ve missed that which revives their hearts and souls, breathing life into them.
How precious it is, to see the Holy Spirit, the Breathe of God swirl inside someone, cleansing them, as God has longed to do! To see someone’s faith come alive, to see their desire to know God, to have the same experience of God, that His word has always evoked.
That is why I love the way Ligouri teaches the Believer about returning to God, to examine one’s life, to confess sin and be forgiven. He urges us to start, not by confessing our sins, but by adoring God! Preparing to be cleansed by adoring the God who offers that, who desires to do that which we need, knowing how we will be, when healed of our sin! As Tozer says, once again pouring ourselves in Christ Jesus, assured of His love and mercy!
This is what Loehe meant about knowing God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, to grow in grace and love! To realize we are in Christ, that is the reality that we need, to understand it better than anything we can ever imagine! As Paul said, quoting Isaiah, it is more beautiful that anything we have ever seen, more wonderful than anything we can imagine, more than our hearts can ever dream up… ( 1 Cor. 2:9)
This is what our people need to see revealed to them, to be able to picture themselves so love by God, to see Him looking into their eyes iwth love that assured them all will be… so much more….
This is what I need to communicate – and I pray you hear…
 A. W. Tozer and Marilynne E. Foster, Tozer on the Holy Spirit: A 366-Day Devotional (Camp Hill, PA: WingSpread, 2007).
 Alphonsus de Liguori, The Holy Eucharist, ed. Eugene Grimm, The Complete Works of Saint Alphonsus de Liguori (New York; London; Dublin; Cincinnati; St. Louis: Benziger Brothers; R. Washbourne; M. H. Gill & Son, 1887), 61.
 Ronald J. Allen, Thinking Theologically: The Preacher as Theologian (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2008), 29.
 William Loehe, Liturgy for Christian Congregations of the Lutheran Faith, ed. J. Deinzer, trans. F. C. Longaker, Third Edition. (Newport, KY: n.p., 1902), 12–13.
Devotional Thought of the Day:
19 “Don’t collect for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But collect for yourselves treasures in heaven, m where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don’t break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matt 6:19-21 HCSB
165 You must always remember that the spiritual faculties are fed by what they receive from the senses. Guard them well!
“You shall have no other gods.”
1 That is, you shall regard me alone as your God. What does this mean, and how is it to be understood? What is to have a god? What is God?
2 Answer: A god is that to which we look for all good and in which we find refuge in every time of need. To have a god is nothing else than to trust and believe him with our whole heart. As I have often said, the trust and faith of the heart alone make both God and an idol.
I really don’t like meditating on this passage in scripture, because if I do, then waht follows next is an inventory of what I truly treasure.
Add to it the words of Luther and St. Josemaria, and I begin to realize what I treasure, what I value, have slowly become my idols, and just as gently, they wean me away from my faith, my trust and dependence on God.
For there is no idol we create and feed that knows satisfaction. They desire more and more of our attention, more and more of our devotion, more and more time and money to satisfy them.
These idols may not be things we carve out of wood and stone, they can range from our health to our technology, to our careers, to even our family and their success. it might make more sense to ask what we value, what our priorities are, for it is the same question. What do we invest, not our money, but our time, and our thoughts in, because they are our top priority?
This is hard for me, there are a number of things I invest too much time, too much thought in, that can dominate my day, and often determine whether it is a good day, or it sucks.
So where is my hope, how do I break away from these idols, and see my support systems taken away?
Simply put, to treasure heaven, to treasure the intimacy with God that is ours because of the work of Christ Jesus. To put our focus on what truly matters, His love. His mercy. To take him up on his invitation to walk with Him, to dwell in His glory. To feast at His table, knowing that such is reserved for His people, His children, on those he’s called there.
These things we are drawn into, prayer, meditation on His message, the incredible blessing gives to us in our baptism, strengthened as we are told again, “your sins are forgiven” and nourished at the altar; they are not our work. We are drawn into this glory of God, we are declared to be His beloved, and transformed into that which receives that love, and can love in return.
We need to be drawn into that love, constantly. We need to know we are welcome there, not only that, that God desires us there.
That is the only answer to our idolatry. To hear His voice, to treasure His love…which means we need it revealed.
Heavenly Father, please help us to listen to the Holy Spirit in our lives. Reveal His presence through little children, through elderly saints, through our pastors and priests, so that we can drop our sin, our idolatry and cling to our hope in you. We pray this in Jesus name. AMEN!
Escriva, Josemaria. The Forge (Kindle Locations 774-776). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Tappert, Theodore G., ed. The Book of Concord the Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. Philadelphia: Mühlenberg Press, 1959. Print.