Thursday, April 20, 2017

Prayer as Fire

When is the last time we prayed for the Holy Spirit to inspire us with wisdom?  When the apostles were waiting for the Paraclete, as their now ascended Jesus had promised, He came in tongues of flame to each of them.  Jesus had promised that the Holy Spirit would come as their consoler, who would empower them to tell the wondrous story of Jesus.
               Why fire?  Fire is contagious.  A small spark in a drought can change a forest or a neighborhood.  Fire can change us, it changed these fishermen into evangelists who changed the world.  In this year of faith, we need to catch fire so we too can change the world as we evangelize.  We will need prayer to the Holy Spirit to help us undergo the change, so we can change others.
                Do you ever admire the prayerful habits of Moslems?  They pray constantly despite work or home-life, travel, or walks in the woods.  They get out their prayer rug and kneel down in prayer.  If you haven't known a Trappist or Cistercian Monk, you might not realize that there are people who pray to God many times a day.  Not just a simple prayer in their car, but removed from whatever work or task they are doing, they stand and chant, or kneel and pray. 
               Fire in the Bible was first used to consume the sacrifice to God.  Later it represented God as He led the Israelites through the desert as a pillar of fire.  A chariot of fire took Elijah into heaven.  In the New Testament, Jesus cooks fish over a charcoal fire on the shore after rising from the dead.  Fire can also cleanse or purify precious gold.  Jesus tells of the chaff of the harvest being burned, and the weeds in the field thrown in the fire to burn.  The Holy Spirit we welcomed at Confirmation comes to give us wisdom and creativity, and a burning devotion to God.  And so we pray,
               "Come, Holy Spirit,/fill the hearts of your faithful/and kindle in them the fire of your love./Send forth your Spirit, and they shall be created,/And You shall renew the face of the earth." kvs

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