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Fire – blessing or curse?

The fires that happen around the world now are unlike the fires of 1992, 1972 or 1952. Fires are burning faster and hotter than ever before, and complex socio-economic factors are resulting in more people being affected by the effects of smoke, debris flows and other wildfire effects.

Yet the discovery and harnessing of fire was one of the great technological discoveries of human history.

Fire to a great extent made human civilization possible. Fire made it possible to:

• cook food, and to provide sanitary ways of eating, which reduced the spread of disease in its time.
• heat warm environments and thereby marking human migration a possibility even into colder climates.

Without fire there would have been no
• Bronze Age
• Iron Age
• Industrial Revolution.

Fire does not leave things as they were- better and worse

Pope Francis – the Fire of God’s love
“I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!” (Lk 12:49). What fire is he talking about? And what is the meaning of these words for us today, this fire that Jesus brings?

“Therefore, he is telling us that the Gospel is like a fire, because it is a message that, when it erupts into history, it burns the old balances of living, challenges us to come out of our individualism, challenges us to overcome selfishness, challenges us to shift from the slavery of sin and death to the new life of the Risen One, of the Risen Jesus.

“In other words, the Gospel does not leave things as they are; when the Gospel passes, and is listened to and received, things do not stay as they are.

“It is just like fire: while it warms us with God’s love, it wants to burn our selfishness, to enlighten the dark sides of life – we all have them, eh! – to consume the false idols that enslave us.

“Jesus is inflamed by God’s love and, to make it spread throughout the world, he expends himself personally, loving up to the end, that is, up to death, and death on the cross (cf. Phil 2:8).

Vincent’s Fire
“To set people’s hearts on fire”, this is how Vincent described the vocation of his followers.

“So, our vocation is to go, not just to one parish, not just to one diocese, but all over the world; and to do what? To set people’s hearts on fire, to do what the Son of God did. He came to set the world on fire in order to inflame it with His love.” Vincent de Paul – May 30, 1659 (SV XII, 215)

Vincent’s mission was simple: to seek out and to love and serve the most abandoned in society

“Standing Outside The Fire”
Country music star Garth Brooks captures the challenge of fire.

We call them cool
Those hearts that have no scars to show
The ones that never do let go
And risk the tables being turned

We call them fools
Who have to dance within the flame
Who chance the sorrow and the shame
That always comes with getting burned

But you’ve got to be tough when consumed by desire
‘Cause it’s not enough just to stand outside the fire

There’s this love that is burning
Deep in my soul
Constantly yearning to get out of control
Wanting to fly higher and higher
I can’t abide
Standing outside the fire

Life is not tried, it is merely survived
If you’re standing outside the fire

Where do you stand with the fire of God’s love?

For more reflections from Fr. Freund please visit:
https://johnfreund.net/

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