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Mystics on Fire with Love
Mystics on Fire with Love

Mystics on Fire with Love: Weekly Summary

Saturday, February 17, 2024

Mystics have plumbed the depths of both suffering and love, and emerged with depths of compassion for the world, and a learned capacity to recognize God within themselves, in others, and in all things.
—Richard Rohr

Since my Beloved is for me and I for my Beloved, who will be able to separate and extinguish two fires so enkindled? It would amount to laboring in vain, for the two fires have become one.
—Teresa of Ávila

Love is a fire of transformation that constantly needs wood to keep the fire alive. Throw yourself into the spiritual fire of divine love and everything you grasp for yourself will be destroyed until there is nothing left but the pure truth of yourself.
—Ilia Delio

The fire in the heart of God is the same fire that burns in us once we have the interior vision that lets us acknowledge divinity within ourselves.
—David Richo

Love is a school of fire, Rumi teaches. You embrace its mystery only in losing yourself, in finally becoming what you love. In the process, you discover that what you had thought to be entirely outside had been within you all along.
—Belden Lane

Mystics and sages of all traditions speak of the inner fire, the divine spark hidden in our very cells and in all that lives. This flame of love is the pure presence of God.
—Paula D’Arcy

Week Seven Practice

Praying to Become Fire

Spiritual writer Christine Valters Paintner retells a famous story from the Desert Fathers:

Abba Lot came to Abba Joseph and said:

Father, according as I am able, I keep my little rule, and my little fast, my prayer, meditation, and contemplative silence; and, according as I am able, I strive to cleanse my heart of thoughts: now what more should I do?

The elder rose up in reply and stretched out his hands to heaven, and his fingers became lit like ten lamps of fire.

He said: Why not become fire? [1]

Paintner invites readers to become aware of the fire within:

I love the story from the desert fathers above. In the spiritual life we keep our practices, spend time in prayer, seek God in all things, and yet at some point even all this is not enough—and we are asked to become fire. Becoming fire means letting our passion for life and beauty ignite us in the world…. We are called to set the whole world on fire with our passion for God.

We may find ourselves drawn to creative expression because it taps into what is most vital and alive in us. This burning in our blood seeks expression in the world, whether through art, song, cooking, gardening, our work, relationships, or in our presence to others. Becoming fire means saying yes to life by the very way we live….

Our internal fire maintains our body heat and keeps us alive. Take some time in prayer to get in touch with your body’s fire through your pulse and the beating of your heart. Rest your hand on your heart and find your heartbeat. Feel the warmth of your body rising up from your skin and give thanks for the gift of being alive. Go for a long walk, and pause every so often to experience the rising heat in your body and to feel your body’s pulse speeding up.

[1]See The Sayings of the Desert Fathers: The Alphabetical Collection, trans. Benedicta Ward, rev. ed. (Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian Publications, 1975, 1984), 103.

Christine Valters Paintner, Water, Wind, Earth and Fire: The Christian Practice of Praying with the Elements (Notre Dame, IN: Sorin Books, 2010), 59, 60, 61.

Image credit: Wonderlane, Untitled (detail), Seattle, 2020, photograph, public domain. Click here to enlarge image.

A fire of love can fill us up and shine out with great strength.

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We live in a world on fire. This year the Daily Meditations will explore contemplation as a way to build Radical Resilience so we can stand in solidarity with the world without burning up or burning out. The path ahead may be challenging, but we can walk it together.

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