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God’s Furnace

Your command erupts from the fire

like molten steel surging from a foundry furnace:

 

“Step into the flames.

I will set your heart on fire.”

 

As I take the first step, the inferno begins

to dissolve the armor around my heart

 

like lead transforming into gold

in the alchemist’s furnace.

 

A poem from David Weiss’s new book, A Heart on Fire: Poems from the Flames

Reflections on this poem:

What is God asking of you?

Are you taking the first step?

What’s happening as you do, or don’t?

 

Fire

what makes a fire burn

is space between the logs,

a breathing space.

Too much of a good thing,

too many logs

packed in too tight

can douse the flames

almost as surely

as a pail of water would.

 

So building fires

require attention

to the spaces in between,

as much as to the wood.

 

When we are able to build

open spaces

in the same way

we have learned

to piles on logs,

then we can come to see how

it is fuel, and the absence of the fuel

together, that makes fire possible.

 

We only need to lay a log

lightly from time to time.

A fire

grows

simply because the space it there,

with openings

in which the flame

that knows just how it wants to burn

can find its way.

 

Judy Brown, on the Inward/Outward blog of Church

of the Savior, Washington DC

 

Reflections on this poem:

Do you have space between things in your life?
How are you packed too tight?

How do you allow for things to grow themselves?

How do you allow for God in building your inner fire?

Psalm 21 (excerpts)

Forever I will put my trust in You;

and as I abandon myself to you in love,

I am assured of peace.

You root out my fears; standing

firm beside me as I face

the shadows within.

Like a blazing sun your light shines.

My fears flee from your sight;

your fire consumes them.

Generations to come will sing

to your glory

In gratitude and joy for your

saving power.

For You put fears to flight,

that love and justice might reign.

All praise be yours, O Wondrous One!

Forever will I sing and  honor

your saving grace.

Translation by Nan Merrill

Reflections on this Psalm:

How have you abandoned yourself to God?

What shadows has God helped you to face?

How has God consumed your fears?

What are you most grateful for?

A wise old mystic said that God puts within each of us a spark of the Divine. “The real question though,” the old man said, “is, how close are you willing to come to the fire?”

It is a question I have asked myself for several years. In fact about ten years ago a friend of mine, Debra, who does exquisite beading, made me a necklace depicting the two phases of my life, the busy achieving part, and the slower more reflective part that had more recently emerged. In the middle of the necklace she put in the words “How close fire?” meaning that the answer to that question was what had shifted me to this more reflective part of my life. I share the necklace with you in two photos, one of the whole necklace and one in which you may be able to see two of the words, “how close,” if you look closely at the black beads on the right side.

2014-03-15_15-35-26_4042014-03-15_15-34-32_376Reflections on this necklace:

How close are you willing to come to the fire?

Richard Rohr talks about this fire of God’s consuming love in this post:

Thomas Merton stated that the True Self should not be thought of as anything different than life itself—not just one’s little life, but also the Big Life. I’m not going to call the True Self life, nor being, because the deepest nature of this life and this being is love. Love is what you were made for, and love is who you are. When you live outside of love, you do not live within your true being. You do not live your true life, and you do not live with any high degree of consciousness. The Song of Songs states that love is stronger than death. “The flash of love is a flash of fire/A flame of Yahweh himself” (8:6). It’s a little experience of the one Big Flame, and we’re just a little tiny spark of this universal reality that is life itself, consciousness itself, being itself, love itself, God itself.

Let me define this one love as best I can.Love is known when we recognize our self in the other. We are then no longer other, and that’s the ecstasy of love. Then we’re all in this thing called life together. We have to start with little others—our partner, friend, lover, child, parent, dog or cat—to be ready for the great leap into the Great Other. This is a whole mirroring process, and God does it best of all by mirroring us perfectly and with total acceptance. In fact, that is what God alone can do.

Paul says it so well: “I shall know even as I am known” (1 Corinthians 13:12). In other words, you need to let yourself be known nakedly by God, no pretense, no dressing up. You are who you are who you are! No trying to make yourself something other than who you really are. All God can love is who you really are, because that’s the only you that really exists. All the rest is just in your head.

Reflections on this quote.

How do you live out the love you were created for?

How do you live out the love of God, the Big Flame?

Who in your life mirrors you for you?

What do you need to do to be totally yourself before God?

Few souls understand

what God would accomplish

in them if they were to

abandon themselves

unreservedly to Him

and if they were to

allow His grace to

mold them accordingly.

 

Go forth

and set the world

on fire.

 

St. Ignatius of Loyola

Reflections on this quote:

What would abandoning yourself to God look like?

How is God’s grace molding you now?

How are you being asked to go forth?

What spark in you is ready to leap into flame?

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