The Fire of LoveFr. Barnabas Powell
Christ is risen!
Today, what is the regular rhythm of your life? Looking at your daily routine, what does it teach you about your “habit” of prayer and devotion? The questions are not meant to bring shame or confrontation, but revelation. St. Basil, called by the Church the “Minstrel of the Holy Trinity,” taught that to know God one must get to know one’s self without falling into the trap of self-centeredness. Yes, I know, very difficult.
But now we have arrived at the midway point between Pascha and Pentecost. Now, the Church begins to tie together Pascha and Pentecost with the teachings of our Lord Jesus in the Temple. Today the Church has us read and contemplate St. John’s Gospel 7:14-30. Jesus is teaching in the Temple and speaking plainly and openly about the desire for some to have Him killed, and others confusion about the Lord’s identity.
But this has been the way of things concerning our Lord since the beginning. “WHo do you say that I am?” is the question put to us all.
This whole necessity about getting the identity of the Lord correct is directly tied together with getting my own identity correct. If I know Him, I will know myself. Simply put – being made in His image means that I best know myself when I know Him.
This is why Pascha and Pentecost are tied together. The revelation of the resurrection of Christ with His complete victory over death and the giving of the Spirit to all humanity are theological “mirrors” held before you and me to show us who we truly are. We are persons meant to be God’s eternal companions, connected to and sharing in His eternal life, AND filled with and consumed by His Spirit. We are made to be the companions of the Three Hebrew Children in the fire. We now join them in the “furnace” of God’s unquenchable Love and walk around in the fire with that Fourth Man. This “fire” does not burn us, but purifies us.
Heady thoughts today, I know, but my dearest, if you are ever to break out of the mundane lethargy of the routine of life meant to enslave you to mediocrity, you must set your thinking on things above and stretch your soul to accommodate more of His grace and Presence. You were made for higher things. This is who you truly are!
With this challenge before us, let us today look back with joy at the Resurrection and forward with anticipation to Pentecost where the Lord fulfills His promise to send “another Comforter” to empower us to be and grow into who we were meant to be. All has been provided for us. There is no grace withheld that could assist us in being truly free. God has emptied Himself into His creation precisely for this work – to make you His able companion.
So, today, set some time aside to “think on these things.” Be grateful that your Creator loves you so very much. Be busy giving yourself over to His abundant mercy to transfigure you, your thoughts, your actions, your very life. Today, know Him and you will know yourself.