Today’s Reflection by Debbie Gaudino
When I hear this word images of a raging, hot, unstoppable fire are immediately brought to mind. When something is ablaze it is visible and radiant and very much contagious – eager to consume all that it within its reach. The connotation is not always positive. A raging fire can be a very scary, dangerous thing indeed.
Why then do the Scriptures, and the Saints, and even contemporary Christian music challenge the believer to be ablaze? Christian music artist Ben Walther’santhem “Ablaze” provides us some insight to the nature of being Ablaze in the Christian life.
Take a listen to his powerful song here:
“I will bring the one third through fire, and I will refine them as silver is refined, and I will test them as gold is tested. They shall call upon my name and I will hear them. I will say “They are my people,” and they shall say, “The Lord is my God.”
Our hearts and minds need to be set ablaze by God’s purifying fire in order to be refined of our sins, and our bad habits and our twisted thinking – of selfishness and greed and unforgiveness.
The process, quite frankly, stinks.
Purification is painful. It is challenging and humbling to face our sins; it is HARD to revisit the hurts of our lives in order to forgive those who hurt us, and it if often a long and tedious process to break the bad habits that keep us from full surrender to Jesus. The results of this process however, like the precious gold and silver which emerge from the fire, are radiant and precious. Allowing the Lord to set us ablaze in order to purify us creates a new “us” that is a credible and compelling witness to God’s love and mercy
Fire Illumines the Darkness
“The Lord preceded them, in the daytime by means of a column of cloud to show them the way, and at night by means of a column of fire to give them light.”
The Lord’s presence in the column of fire lit up the darkness so that the Israelites could safely travel through it.
Ben Walther’s song begins with these words: “By his grace we are conceived to be mercy, to be peace, to be light amidst the darkness.”
Our mission as Catholics is to carry within us the presence of God, a presence which will be a column of fire for those who walk in darkness. At our Baptism we received an anointing to share in Christ’s anointing of priest, prophet and King. Through that anointing we can bring the light of Christ, his mercy and his peace to others.
Lighting up the darkness for someone else doesn’t have to be complicated. It may be as simple as a kind word, an invitation to a retreat, dropping off some spiritual reading to the person, or simply being a shoulder to cry on. When people ask us about our faith, we can shine that light through humbly sharing what the Lord has done for us. Above all, it involves praying for those around us who dwell in darkness.
Set the World on Fire
What are these great saints asking us to do?
They are asking us to surrender and submit to the will of God in our lives – to give our lives totally over to him, so that, like John the Baptist, we may decrease and Christ may increase. It is only through this self-surrender that we can be filled with the Holy Spirit and go out as ambassador’s of God’s love into a hurting world.
The words “set the world on fire” speak to us – they inspired Ben Walther to write his song Ablaze. I believe there is something deep within all of our hearts that longs to see the world set ablaze in the fire of God’s love. We can imagine the brilliance of a world blazing with the roaring fires of faith, hope and charity. How awesome would it be if those fires consumed everything around them – leaving nothing but the pure gold of God’s will alive in every heart.
How Can I Help Set Hearts Ablaze?
- Lord Jesus, what areas in my life need to be purified by your “refiner’s fire”? I ask you to reveal those areas to me, and I ask for the grace to allow me to cooperate with the purification you desire.
- Dear God, please show me how I can be a light in the darkness to those around me. Give me the strength and the holy boldness to help lead others out of slavery into the light and the freedom of Christ.
- Lord Jesus, stir up in my heart a desire to “go and set the world on fire.” Reveal to me the unique plan you have for my life and the way that you most desire for me to be an ambassador of the fire of your love to a hurting world.
To Follow the #MusicThatMoves series and Learn more about our Featured Artist – Ben Walther: CLICK HERE!
Debbie Gaudino is a Catholic blogger and speaker. You can read more of her fabulous writing on her blog: Saints 365.
She is a happily married, homeschooling Mom to two beautiful children. She and her husband were raised Catholic and had both fallen away from our faith for most of our young adult life. We experienced a major conversion at a Mass celebrated by Blessed John Paul II in Rome in 2000. Since then, our lives have been centered on knowing, loving and serving the Lord and his church.