Have we become worldly?

Can I honestly say, that when I look at myself or at my Church, locally or universally, that I recognise followers of Jesus, the Body of Christ, or the Kingdom of Heaven?

‘I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!’ [Lk12:49]

Where is this fire?!

I don’t see it in my life. And I rarely hear it in homilies. And I hardly see it in the Church. I start to wonder if we’ve forgotten Jesus.

There are saints amongst us, though. There are holy bishops and priests and religious and lay people, living the gospel. There are orders, and movements and organisations and just people. There are many people out there who sacrifice themselves with Jesus, living the reckless, radical love of the Father.

I just wish it were the rule. I wish that I heard this fire in every homily, and saw it in every Church activity. I wish that we were obviously so much more than a club, or an NGO. I wish that this fire was burning in all my flesh, down to the marrow.
But I’ve read, that all that’s needed to become a saint, is to will it. God wills it already; we just need to cooperate, accept His grace, obey His gospel.

And the truth is, there’s no real life apart from Jesus’ life. It’s a choice between life and — far worse than death– not-life. I could perhaps call it half-life, but I think not-life better captures the emptiness I’m thinking of. Or being, “lukewarm”. 


I hope I’m not alone in feeling this way. Please pray with me, that we will together be set on Jesus-fire.

9 comments

  1. Hey Ignatius,

    No you are not alone. I have felt this way for a long time now. I really have trouble in Mass sometimes, as I just cannot for the life of me follow the Priest’s homilies. My mind goes all over the place.

    So what I did and it helped a lot was make Mass about Jesus instead of me and those around me. To sit there in thanksgiving that I am in His presence and will become united with Him in my soul. That has helped me a whole lot.

    I don’t think it is as much as we “are not on fire,” as we have so many distractions in this day and age. I think we need to get rid of some of them, and let doing the will of God, be our main “distraction.” Then I believe that slow burning amber, will become the “fire.” Great post! God Bless, SR

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s really good advice, I’ll try that.

      Yes, distractions! Exactly! There’s so much meaninglessness, often even in our good deeds, because we don’t do them in Jesus, for the sake of His Kingdom. Without Him, it’s all dead.

      God bless!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There you go! Mass as well needs to be about Him, Him offering Himself to us, and we lose sight of He is receiving us just as we are. Good and bad! When you focus on that in Mass and in your life, all the rest seems to go by the wayside. God Bless, SR

        Liked by 1 person

  2. There is fire and fire. Various friends, myself included, burnt out in younger days, not listening when our bodies and minds needed to rest. People who depended on us no longer could, but then our places were filled by others, and later on checks and balances were introduced to make sure it would not happen again.

    Parenting and family life may have highs, but really needs a slow burn, the ability to get up at 3.00 a.m. – yet again – to change a nappy, and such mundane jobs continue for years, for some parents without respite. And the children may find themselves reciprocating when parents are frail, again, perhaps for years on end. Slow burn where burn out would not be very helpful. But slow burn is not always very visible. Not necessarily the same thing as lukewarm.

    Fire gives heat and light: if someone makes you feel warmth or enlightens you -even to the extent of one little LED bulb, there is some fire there, surely.

    Maybe the best way to bring fire to the earth is to feed the fire that is already there. An email to a friend or grandparent tells them they are loved, without actually using the word. And who or what lights your fire? What light shines on your path? What of the highs of Krakow and World Youth Day? Where does that experience point you?

    Do not be tempted to despair, but try to get alongside people and what enlightens or warms them.

    Not that I am inspired by every homily that enters my ears!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I don’t doubt it. Writing this post, I was reminded of all the hidden, inglorious heroes there are. The kingdom of God certainly hasn’t been conquered or even cornered. No, absolutely, “slow burn” is the opposite of lukewarm.

      An LED seems to me like a more natural analogy for the false, lifeless light and heat of the world, since it has literally no fire (unless it is broken), but I take your point. The fire is amongst us still.

      I think you’re right. Feeding the fire is at least the place to begin.

      The funny thing I find is, whenever I face discouragement like this, I quickly get very encouraged. When the world feels coldest, the gospel feels most powerful, and the world suddenly full of the gospel.

      God bless!

      Like

      1. Dear Ignatius, would you mind if I used an edited version of our conversation over Easter in Agnellus Mirror?

        I hope Krakow is more than a misty memory for you. I guess as a greybeard I’m too ancient to count as youth, though I did manage the mountain paths around Zakopane – at a somewhat slower pace than most of you youngsters!

        Will.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hi Will, I think that’s a great idea. When I read your comment I was thinking it deserved to be seen and appreciated as a full post.

        I think I need to revisit my memories of Krakow actually. It sort of jump-started a really awesome period in my life.

        Well, if Francis counted as a youth (which he definitely did), I’m sure you do too.

        God bless!

        Like

  3. Love this post! I can relate. I’m reading the book Rebuilt by a priest and lay associate in MD. They talk about re-igniting the fire in their parish. I think you’d enjoy it!

    Liked by 1 person

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