In the previous teaching we began to
mention the "ferocious flames" of God's love. The God of love is the God of
fire; for, love's "flames are a blazing fire", and "stern as death is love,
relentless as the nether world is devotion" (Songs 8:6B).True love is
both unyielding and uncompromising. God is an extreme lover. He calls me to
"the conflagration of consummation". I am to become fire as I am
drawn more and more into His life and as I am transformed by His divine love.
For, the fire of God's love seeks the inmost depths of my heart. This is to be
the dwelling place of His divine flames. Do I dare allow myself to be seized
and carried away by the force of His love, overwhelmed by His all-consuming
fire, devoured by His deep, driven devotion?! Why not become an "incandescent"
God wants my desire and longing for
Him to increase, so He draws my heart through "flames of tender touches" (St.
John of the Cross. Living Flame of Love, st. I, no. 8, p. 582). In a
saying attributed to Jesus, cited by Origen, Jesus says, "He who is close to
me is close to fire" (cited by Origen in Dictionary of BiblicalTheology,
p. 183). Has not Jesus said, "I have come to set the earth on fire" (Luke
12:49); and does not St. John describe Jesus in The Book ofRevelation:
"His eyes were [like] a fiery flame" (Rev. 1:14;19:12)?! Where there are
flaming eyes, there is a flaming heart as well! How close will I allow God to
draw to me?! Do I risk an all-consuming closeness, an "incinerating" oneness?!
St. Paul reminds me that as I get
closer and closer to God--drawn into His "irresistible embrace"--I am changed
from 'glory to glory', and I "become more and more like the one [I] love"
(Thomas Dubay, S.M., Prayer Primer: Igniting a Fire Within, p. 33). The
more I am drawn into the "fierce furnace" of God's love, the more I am changed
into a "living torch" of love. Fire consumes what it encounters. St. Teresa of
Avila tells us that God "makes it [my soul] desire Him vehemently"
(Teresa of Avila. The InteriorCastle, sect. VI, chap. 2, no.
1-3, pp. 366-367). The word, vehement, means 'intense, full of vigor or
energy'. Does not St. Peter exhort, "Love one another intensely from a
pure heart" (1 Pet. 1:22). I can only love humanity intensely and purely as an
intercessor if I first encounter and surrender to the God of devouring
intensity! One can speak, in fact, of the "burning of yearning", "the fire of
desire", "the forge of fierce familiarity" with the God Who "does not
conquer our hearts except through the excess of love" (The Cantata of
Love. Blaise Arminjon S.J., p. 153).
of the questions found in the text
fierce is my friendship with God?
Any scripture from the text; Jr. 23:29; Luke 24:32