Catch the Fire….


I spend a lot time with the desert fathers and mothers, because I see so much in them that I want to be, to acheive, to harness.  I try very hard not to pretend to myself or others, that anything I say either in person, or on the internet, could possibly have any merit on its own.  I am very much aware that in fact, nothing I say has any merit on its own.  I am not a brilliant theologian or even a student of theology and so most of what I say probably has no meaning for anyone but myself anyway.

Having recently been reminded of how disposable I am, through loss of employment, I have found my spirit restless and troubled by thoughts of inferiority, self-abasement, and shame. So it was with a troubled spirit, that  I turned to the Desert Fathers once again, this morning.  This is what I read:

“Abba Lot went to see Abba Joseph and said to him, ‘Abba as far as I can I say my little office, I fast a little, I pray and meditate, I live in peace and as far as I can, I purify my thoughts. What else can I do?’ Then the old man, Abba Joseph,  stood up and stretched his hands towards heaven. His fingers became like ten lamps of fire and he said to him, ‘If you like, you can become all aflame.’ ”

I am reminded, that this life is not about employment, production of wealth, goods, or personal acclaim.  It’s not about attracting for oneself, the honors that go with a brilliant education or patting yourself on the back for being from the “school of hard knocks.”

My aim in this life, must be above all else, to become “all aflame”.  There is no other purpose in living, but to unite with God and to become a person with no enemies.  And as in all things, this too is given as a gift of choice.  Abba Joseph did not say “You must…” .  He said, “If you like…”

The God we worship is truly the author of grace.

An Ethiopian Monk rests outside his cell.

An Ethiopian Monk rests outside his cell.

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5 Responses to “Catch the Fire….”

  1. Dear Suzanne,

    Please know that you are not disposable and that your light burns brighter than most people I have met. I’m not saying this just to flatter you, but to encourage you. Your kindness, generosity, and love for others is almost overwhelming at times, and I know that your ministry to others will bear fruit. Do not be discouraged, but take heart in knowing that the light of Christ shines through you and is surely illuminating others around you. May God bless you and keep you.

    in Christ,

    Matthew

  2. Dear in Christ brother Matthew,

    I am so very humbled by your kind words. I pray that God will give me the gift of proper tears to express my deep thanksgiving for them. I have tears over what you write, and I fear it is from pride or delusion. I want the proper words to express my true gratitude.

    Thank you, for being my friend and for lighting my life with your friendship, as well as your art.

    In Christ,
    Suzanne

  3. Great Post Suzanne! I am sure I am a flicker that is almost burnt out. I hope that I can become all aflame, but it also seems that I am afraid to totally surrender to God for fear of “what I will miss out on.” Go for it passionately, with all your heart. God is waiting to light you.

    Give it your all.

    Grace and Peace!

  4. The same words have been an inspiration to me lately, Suzanne. It is an honor to call you a friend and to be able to uphold you in prayer, we are miles apart in distance, but in mind, and in spirit, we are very close. Your reflections here remind me so much of my own, so if you are deluded, dear sister, so am I!

    The differences between you and I, though, are evident. When someone asks you to pray, you don’t take a mental note and wait until the evening — you depart and pray then and there, and for this a crown must be waiting for you. You have genuine love for those who are blessed enough to cross paths with you, you serve your labors of love with zeal and passion and continue in the faces of adversity and hardheartedness. You are raising a wise and spiritual child, you are aiding many in prayer with the work of your hands, and especially through your own prayers.

    I am not here to sing your praises, for you are wise, and you know humility — but I am here to encourage you and lift your spirits, if only to let you know that you are a role model and inspiration spiritually. We may not yet lift our hands and become aflame, but there is a light that shines through you, which anyone who takes the time to get to know you a little can see as clear as day.

    I trust in your prayers and know that God works blessings in my life through them. Continue to pray for me, a sinner, and know that as grace allows I will do the same for you.

    Through the prayers of the desert fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us.

  5. Dear Isaac, ,matthew and troy.

    May the Lord bless you, and may he forgive me.

    I am very humbled by your friendship. I thought I was just “signing up for a membership” at DC. What a miracle it has been for me. I never knew there was such a thing as Orthodox websites, but I have been SO blessed by yours.

    Your prayers for me, are deeply felt in my soul. I will probalby never attain holiness, but I do know that our Lord is faithful and He alone saves us. And by your prayers, you are helping to save me, a sinner.

    God bless you…each one.

    And Isaac, I am there in the desert with you. I know that inner geography very well. As long as we stay out of quicksand of despair, we shall be strong, as soldiers.

    God bless you…
    Love always,
    Suzanne

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