I have been meditating for a several days on this word from the Servant of God, Catherine Doherty: “He who dwells in the heart of God is aflame with love, and sets on fire everyone he touches.”
As symbol fire most often is referenced in connection with the Most Holy Spirit: shown at Pentecost in the tongues of fire upon the Apostles.
Indeed the Catechism of the Catholic Church [# 696} teaches: …fire symbolizes the transforming energy of the Holy Spirit’s actions.
Since His first sacramental action takes place within us at Baptism, this can be seen as the moment when such transforming energy is at work within us – and, in a sense, is amplified with every subsequent sacrament we receive, most especially with the Holy Eucharist, for it is the action of the Holy Spirit which brings about transubstantiation.
Especially at Pentecost we cry out to the Holy Spirit asking Him to enkindle within us ‘the fire of Your love.’ This is the fire which Jesus Himself tells us He yearns to spread about the earth.
Catherine in her words is challenging us to dwell within the depths of baptismal reality, to know in Whom we ‘live and move and have our being’ and that we should act within/from this profound communion of love.
So, how is it then that this fire within us is not being spread to everyone we touch?
Perhaps we do not ask the Holy Spirit for more, in a word to not only enkindle, but rekindle, this fire within us, more and more and more.
Perhaps we fear this fire, which purifies and animates.
For most of us it is difficult to discern the difference been punishment and purification, because the intensity is similar.
There is a wonderful story, quoted by Fr. Robert Pelton is his book CIRCLING THE SUN, from the Fathers of the Desert.
Briefly one of the monks, who led a faithful life, came to the Elder and, after telling the Elder how he was faithful to the necessary, wondered what more he could do.
Silently the Elder stands, stretches out his hands from which flow streams of fire and the Elder tells the monk: “If you want you can become a living flame.”
Jesus is the living flame, the living fire of love and by baptism we become immersed in the fire of Christ’s love, members grafted onto the Mystical Body of Christ, hence onto the fire.
It is the Holy Spirit who makes us living flames, if we will only ask.
Imagine how the culture of darkness would be dispelled if all the baptized became living flames!