Thursday, August 18, 2005

Burning Tears

Sometimes I am not so sure about the wisdom of watching news reports from around the world because if the world's media is to be believed the earth is filled with innumerable hostilities and very little love.

However we also have the paradox that in the midst of those seemingly endless news stories every once in a while there is a glimmer of hope!

Watching the extreme contrast between the tears of anger, confusion, refusal, on the part of some of our Jewish brothers and sisters, and the tears of a burden of duty upon the faces of the young soldiers and police who had to drag people from their sanctuary - contrasted with the tears of welcome, joy, love upon those in Germany welcoming Pope Benedict - both became my focus of meditation and prayer today.

A priest must have not simply a heart, Christ's heart, on fire with love for everyone but a priest's heart must willing gather the burning tears of all who suffer.

The Holy Land is peopled by our Jewish and Arab brothers and sisters, children of Abraham by blood and amongst them, some Jewish, some Arab, some for virtually every nation on earth, living in the Holy Land or elsewhere, as we Christians, for whom Abraham is our father in faith.

The chaos and anger, the violence and hate, the sometimes unwillingness, other times perhaps because of the weight of history, inability to see, to hear, to understand, one another with the resultant wars, terror, fear is the same root cause of so much blood being spilled be it through the slaughter of a pre-born person in the womb, the murder of a person or the larger scale horrors of civil war, terrorism or global war.

Brother Roger of Tazie understood only the fire of love burning in a heart at the service of others can wipe away the burning tears. That a disciple of Christ who sheltered our Jewish brothers and sisters from the Nazis, who worked so hard not only for Christian unity but for understanding between all religions and races should have been murdered when the youth of the world is gathering with the shepherd of the world frankly shows not the power of evil but its impotence.

Yesterday I received a letter from a dear friend who quoted this from the Servant of God Catherine Doherty: " Love is not an abstract thing....Love is a must spend itself in service. Service is the dry wood to love that makes it into a bonfire that reaches out to eternity and burns there....."

As Pope Benedict urged the youth of the world and through them all of us today: " Open wide your hearts to God! Let yourselves be surprised by Christ!....."

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


Just a few thoughts this evening to begin the reflections on why this blog is called Fire, Salt and Light!

After the long penitential and conversion anew period of Lent, which in the Northern Hemisphere usually occurs in the dark depths of winter, during the night of the Easter Vigil a new fire is lit and from this fire a flame is taken to light the Paschal Candle.

Since time immeorial fire - which its essentially a constantly dancing flame radiating heat and light - has been both a practical necessity and a powerful symbol.

We all know the obvious benefits of fire to halt the darkness in its relentless attempt to engulf the living with its shadows in which predators lurk, its cold which can steal life's breath, solidify the blood, or be the scent of hate; fire can also give light to read by - or celebrate the Divine Liturgy in its life-giving fullness with the beauty of candles, - but fire can also destroy - or purify raw ore into shimmering gold - as with so much within creation it often depends on the choice humans make.

The blessed new fire of the Easter Vigil symbolizes the Risen Christ who has shattered the darkness of sin, death, fear and the Pashcal likewise symbolizes Christ - the Living Fire of Divine Mercy who abides with us and within us.

Jesus tells how He has come to set us ablaze with this divine fire {Lk.12:49} and in particular are we set ablaze when we are Baptized with the Holy Spirit and with fire {Mt.3:11} so that if we then throughout our lives walk with Christ we too we experience, more and more intensely the more faithful to Christ we are the burning of our hearts within us {Lk.24:32}!

Ghosts of Nuremburg

A family member reminded me yesterday it has been some time since I have written here. No excuses just an apology and a request for your kind prayer I make better use of your valuable time by posting regularly.

Still working on the promised posts about fire, salt and light, and will have the first done later today.

What has been on my heart since yesterday while watching the opening Mass for World Youth Day in Cologne were the ghosts of Nuremburg and how it seems they have been finally put to rest.
I should explain!

The Nazis depended heavily on the occult and various other forms of twisting human history, distorting truth, manipulating people's fears and used, as we all know, huge rallies as cultic events, the most infamous of which being the huge rally at Nuremburg out of which came the equally infamous film "Triumph of the Will".

Yesterday in Cologne a rally took place revealing liturgy directed towards adoration of the One True God and the purpose of missioning at the end of every Holy Mass is the going forth of the multitude to spread the triumph of humble loving service of others, especially the poor, the weak, the vulnerable.

My heart saw the real Germany, a good people, a generous people, a people who have with courage and humility journeyed a long way over the past 60 years from the hateful pall of darkness under the Nazis into the loving Light of Christ, welcoming the youth of the world with great kindness and joy.

One of my brothers is there and he sent a simple email to family and friends in which he noted the genuine joy of the welcome being given to the pilgrims of the world.

What is happening in Germany this week is hope for the whole world!