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"At His Feet: The Heel of Zeal" (Part One)

 

"Zeal flows from an intensity of love."

(St. Thomas Aquinas)

 

          In the first chapter of The Book of Revelation, St. John describes his first vision of Jesus. He says, "His feet were like polished brass refined in a furnace" (Rev. 1:15). St. John beholds Jesus' feet as brilliant as the sun, or as bright as 'white-hot' fire. Jesus is the exemplar of "Godly zeal", indicative of an intensity of love that is pure, holy and uncompromising. "At his feet of fire"--at the lowest place--intercessors are taught how to belong totally to God like Jesus, with an exclusive devotion. We are taught how to please God in all things and to seek the good of others--hence, to have a zealous heart for the salvation of souls. We are taught how to be animated and guided, like Jesus, by the interests of the Heavenly Father: "My food is to do the will of the one who sent me and to finish his work" (John 4:34). This desire to obey the Father's will in all things "feeds" Jesus and animates him with zeal to accomplish the essential work that he has been given to do. Further, Jesus says, "I came down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of the one who sent me" (John 6:38). Jesus has descended--"boots on the ground"-- with the heavenly fire of the Holy Spirit and the divine virtue of zeal--with a passion for the Kingdom of heaven.

 

"The Seal of Zeal"

 

          In the eighth chapter of The Song of Songs we read:

 

"Set me as a seal on your heart, as a seal on your arm; For stern as death is love, relentless as the nether world is devotion; its flames are a blazing fire."

(Songs 8:6)

 

In ancient times people used seals in order to indicate that some object belonged to them as a possession. Intercessors are called to belong to God entirely--to be a people who are 'possessed by God' completely. We are to be "sealed" to his Heart of Divine Love, motivated by his burning heart desires in the world! One may speak of this as the "seal of zeal". At baptism each of us has been sealed by the Holy Spirit, the Love of God. Intercessors believe the fundamental truth that through Baptism, we belong to Jesus completely--and this love is meant to be unto death! The word, relentless, used in this scripture passage, means 'unyielding; steady and persistent; uncompromising determination; not diminishing in intensity'. How relentless is Jesus in his zeal?--to the extent that members of his own extended family said of him, "He is out his mind" (Mk. 3:21).

 

          In its fullest sense zeal "refers to energetic and forceful activity in favor of some project" (St. Thomas Aquinas, quoted in Jesus Living in Mary, p. 1273). For Jesus, this project is "Project Saving Love". Zeal is "a movement of the will in relation to a "cause" (Jesus Living in Mary, p. 1273) The dictionary defines a cause as 'a goal or principle served with dedication and zeal; or, 'the interests of a person or group engaged in a struggle'. We read of the cause of Jesus towards the end of The Acts of the Apostles when Jesus encourages St. Paul: 

 

"The following night the Lord stood by him and said, "Take courage. For just as you have borne witness to my cause in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness in Rome"

(Acts 23:11)

 

The cause of Jesus can be summed up in one phrase: "Father, your will be done". In the passage above, Jesus commends St. Paul for sharing in his single-hearted focus to accomplish the will of God. Intercessors, filled with the fire of God's Love and "die-hard dedication" enter into the struggle of Jesus to fulfill the Father's will in the world: To continue the redemptive mission of the Lamb of God for the salvation of souls. We must be willing to sacrifice everything--even our lives--for the "cause" of Jesus--for the sake of Saving Love! We are reminded that Jesus' own zeal led him to his death: " Zeal for your house will consume me" (John 2:17). Again, as we consider again the scripture verse from Songs 8:6 and now John 2:17, we realize that 'Godly zeal' is both "relentless" and "consuming": "For our God is a consuming fire" (Heb. 12:29).

 

 

Questions:

1)     Is there a "cause" that I do/would spend my life for?

2)     Does obedience feed me?

 

Scriptures:

Any scripture found in the teaching text; Ps.45:4-5; Ps.119:154; 2Cor. 5:14-15

 

"TWO-ZERO-ONE-SEVEN, TIME TO STORM HEAVEN"

 

 

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