We have a Faith Sharing Group at my church that meets monthly. The facilitator appointed for the month chooses the topic, presents some information about it, and leads the group discussion. The topic for this month was: “Who is this Holy Spirit?” After our meeting last week, I have been paying attention to the Holy Spirit’s work in my life. Early on, in out time together, I related to the group how God uses synchronicity to get my attention–well, on Tuesday three of my readings–not one but three–spoke of the fire of God–the Holy Spirit. Talk about synchronicity!
The daily lectionary called for Psalms 94 & 95 which spoke of the refining fire of God’s love in Nan Merrill’s Psalms for Praying–nothing new there, of course.
But then I opened Thomas Keating’s Journey to the Center: A Lenten Passage that I am using during Lent. His prayer at the end of his daily meditation that day : “O Holy Spirit, infinite outpouring of the Love of the Father and the Son, soothe the wounds the refining fire of your Love has cauterized.” Okay, I get it–there’s something here for me.
Then I turned to Macrina Wiederkehr’s Seasons of the Heart: Prayers and Reflections (the book that recently unexpectedly fell off the shelf onto the floor for some unknown reason–see “graniathreads” below, Feb.15, for details). I read her reflection on Luke12:49-50 entitled “Fire on Earth,” p136ff. She says: “Fire burns and purifies. It destroys. It warms and it transforms. The transforming fire [the Holy Spirit] Jesus wants to cast on the earth cannot be received without pain. Whatever God’s fire touches will be changed. I long for the fire of God as much as I dread it. Who can bear such transformation? Who can be satisfied with trivia after being burned with this baptism of fire?” After her prose reflection, she shares a meditative poem, the last stanza here:
“I am called to the same vocation [see scripture cited above],
the same bath of fire waits for me,
the same God calls out to me.
I placed you here
to light a fire on the earth
O how I wish the flames
were already leaping
But you have a baptism
and like me
You’ll be restless
until it’s over.”
By that point, I felt sure some fiery ordeal was on the way, but then on Wednesday in Nan’s Psalms for Praying, I found comforting words in the portion of 119 appointed for the day in the lectionary:
“Be not afraid of Love’s touch,
the Fire that consumes all dross;
For love is the great transformer,
burning away false ways of the past,
and filling hearts with Light.
Awaken to the Indwelling Presence of the Beloved!
Envision the Beauty that Love brings forth.”
I am in awe of these messages that I recognize have my name on them. I trust that God’s grace is sufficient for me as I look forward to what Divine Love will bring forth in my life.