Thursday, October 20, 2011

“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.”-St. Catherine of Siena

....We must carry Jesus in our hearts to wherever He wants to go, and there are many places to which He may never go unless we take Him to them. None of us knows when the loveliest hour of our life is striking. It may be when we take Christ for the first time to that grey office in the city where we work, to the wretched lodging of that poor man who is an outcast, to the nursery of that pampered child, to that battleship, airfield, or camp... - Caryll Houselander: Lay Catholic writer and mystic

Luke 12:49-50:
Jesus said to his disciples, «I have come to bring fire upon the earth and how I wish it were already kindled; but I have a baptism to undergo and what anguish I feel until it is over!

The symbol of fire has become a representation of who all Catholics are called to be. It’s this idea of being enflamed with passion and life: being enflamed with God. If I am to call myself a believer in God and follower of Jesus, then I cannot just go through the motions; rather I must consciously choose my actions and words to reflect God’s will and Jesus’ life. This idea of being on fire, of actively acting out our faith, is the way in which Jesus and so many others have lived, and what I think he is calling us to do here. Jesus did not just sit in the temple and preach to a specific few. Rather, he was out with the people, eating with them, talking with them, living with them. He took an active role in society and shared his faith by living it. Similarly, John the Baptist was on fire – preaching the coming of the Son of God even when met with hostility. Dorothy Day was on fire when she established the Catholic Worker Program. The six Jesuit martyrs and the four church women martyrs were on fire as they worked in and with the people of El Salvador.

When St. Ignatius said “Go forth and set the world on fire”, he was calling us to do the same as Jesus has said here – to let ourselves be engulfed in the fire and spirit of God and to share it with others. Jesus came at the time he did because that’s when he was most needed – when things needed to be shaken up and lives refocused. We must continue to set on fire ourselves and share this passion, this light through our actions. We must stay focused in the will of God so that our lives radiate his love.

Have great aspirations! Train your goals onward and upward! Seek your personal perfection, that of your family, that of your work, that of your deeds, that of the assignments you receive. The saints have always aspired to the highest goals. They have not been afraid to face efforts and stress. They have moved. Carry on, move, too! Remember St. Augustine's words: «If you say enough, you are lost. Go further, keep going. Don't stay in the same place, don't go back, don't go off the road. Who does not move forward, stops; who keeps thinking of the starting point, goes backwards; he who reneges goes off the road. It is better to limp along that way than to stride along some other route». And he adds: «If want to be what you are not yet, you must always be displeased by what you are. For where you are pleased with yourself there you have stopped. Keep adding, keep walking, keep advancing». Are you advancing or have you stopped?

Implore the help of the Blessed Virgin, Mother of Hope!

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