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Thursday, 27 August 2020 07:00

Fire of Love

 2020.39.Fire of Love.Main blog image

Sometimes on retreat we go to a house with a fireplace for winter inspiration.  Watching flames can remind us of the deep mystery of God’s intimate and perfect love for us.  Our key symbol in the Missionaries of God’s Love is the Cross and Flame.  The flame represents the fire of God’s love seen most clearly in Jesus’ dying on the cross for love of us all.  A key image that expresses this is the modern sacred heart image below where you can see flames emanating from the crucified Jesus’ heart. We keep this image in all our chapels to remind us of what we are about.

Jesus said, “I have come to bring fire to the earth and how I wish it were blazing already” (Luke 12:49).  For some of you who may have been touched by the horrors of bushfires this statement may send shivers down your spine. Jesus was referring to the love he knew in his own heart as the beloved Son of God that he wanted to share with everyone. Like the fire Moses saw in the burning bush that was on fire but not consumed, God’s love is a mysterious life-giving fire. Jesus knew that this fire of love was what every human heart needs, and that it would awaken them to their own dignity, purpose and fruitfulness. mgl sacredheart jesus 225

This same fire was poured out at Pentecost and is the very same fire we receive into our hearts at Baptism and Confirmation.  Do not let the ordinariness of your life deceive you. You too are a carrier of God’s fire to this world. Now in this vulnerable time of crisis, more than ever we are aware of our mortality and lack of control over what matters most.  Life seems to strip us back, daily challenges and deep struggles make us feel that we have nothing, that we are like a dry old lump of dead wood. God wants to enflame even the driest parts of us, so that we become a life-giving fire. We need to remind ourselves every day that we are loved and precious to God, that our lives are completely in God’s hands, and that other people need this hope desperately.

Like the psalmists, we say first to ourselves and also to the world, “Trust God, trust Jesus, who willingly gave his life for love of you. You are loved beyond all measure!” If we surrender to this truth our whole lives will show that this love is all that we need, all that anyone needs. It is the source of all love and better than anything else on the planet. The purpose of our lives is to know this and share this truth with others. Catherine of Siena is quoted as saying: “If you are who you are meant to be you will set the world on fire.” We are all meant to be lit by Eternal Love, so we can be truly free, truly ourselves and a living sign of God’s love.

If you have ever enjoyed a good winter fire you will know that it needs attention, needs to be tended and fed to keep it blazing. Let us pray for one another for that fire in our hearts to roar into a life-giving flame, for ourselves and for those around us, and for those most desperate in the world today, to be warmed and find life in God’s love. 

Judy Bowe