Beautiful Jesus:

May we love your Bride, the Church, as you love her, having given yourself up for her. Too often, through a spirit too critical of the sins of others, or through pride that too highly esteems our own godliness, we condemn the Bride that you have given your life for. Help us, Savior, to see her beauty as you do – not a beauty born of her own merit, but of the merit you have given her by loving her.

Jesus, we have been hurt by the sins of others within your Church. Where sinners gather, we sin against one another – intentionally and unintentionally, in ways big and small. Many of your sheep have been hurt by other sheep from within your flock. Yet this does not surprise you, Jesus. When you promised Peter that the gates of hell would not prevail against your Church, you knew just how messy and dysfunctional we would be. Yet still you purposed to use your Church to transform your people and put on display your gospel. Yet still you have set your love on your Church. Help us, Jesus, to love her as you love her.

Help us, Jesus, to see that we need her. Through pride we drift into isolation, thinking that we neither need nor depend on others. Through pride, we assume that our pursuit of you is sufficient in and of itself. Yet you have called to yourself not individuals, but a people. Your redemptive purpose has never involved bringing many body parts to your kingdom, but one Body. Thus we should recognize that we need your people even as we need you. We need the Church. Help us to repent of our tendencies toward prideful isolation and to grow in dependence on you through dependence upon one another.

Help us to love your Church, Jesus, just as you do. Through your Church, prepare us for the day when you will present us to yourself as your pure, spotless, and holy Bride. Amen.

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