Friday, August 18, 2006

On Fire, Part Two FROM YESTERDAY: It seems there's a cool Christianity all around us. .. the world is getting colder. But fire happens when we allow God to be God in our lives... Scott Hahn once wrote (in his excellent book A Father Who Keeps His Promises) that there is only One Fire, but two reactions to it. He said the fire of God's love is the same fire that burns in Hell. If we surrender to Love, we burn with the Passion of the Saints. But if we cast ourselves away from that Love and seek a counterfeit or a quick fix here below, the Fire still exists. But we are on the outside, and the heat is unbearable. How? Because our hearts have put up walls, and at our very core, we are cold. Oh the mystery of free will! The mystery that God has given us the very power to refuse His Love! God offers and invites, because love can never be forced. This is a deep mystery and we need to sit still with it. God is a Fire of Love, and we are called into that Love. It can hurt, it can burn, because we have our own sinfulness, our clinging to finite things when we should let go into His Infinite Love. But when we do, we dance in the warmth of it, like the three young men in the fiery furnace from the Book of Daniel. COOL CATHOLIC FACT: The highest angels are called Seraphim, which means "burning ones." They are so close to the Heart of God. They swim in Love. Lucifer, Satan himself, was once the highest of these angels. But rather than lose himself in the joy of selflessness and self-donation (which is our deepest vocation), he grasped at divinity and became the very definition of selfishness. Now having rejected Love out of jealousy and pride, he still burns. A somber thought for a Friday, huh? What is your passion and the flame that lights your way? Is it the steady flame of love, a prayerful self-consciousness and self-giving, or is it the flash-fire of selfishness that reaches out and grasps at people and things, only to quickly recoil with a still empty heart? God help us to move into the Fire of His Love. In the words of St. Catherine of Siena, "If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world ablaze!"
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