I Came to Cast Fire Upon the Earth | iPray with the Gospel
Jesus said: “I came to cast fire upon the earth; and would that it were already kindled! I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how I am constrained until it is accomplished!”
Love has often been described as a fire. Jesus became a man to set the world on fire, to set it in love; in the Love of God. This is a glimpse of the Sacred Heart of Our Lord, burning in love for mankind, yearning for our salvation. But to start the fire, first He had to undergo His particular ‘baptism’, as He calls it. After His Passion, Death and Resurrection, the fire was ignited. He then ascended into Heaven and sent the Holy Spirit, Who now keeps the flame and spreads it throughout the world.
When the Paraclete came, tongues of fire were seen over the heads of the Apostles. Peter was ‘on fire’ and converted 3,000 on the first day. Since then the fire has never gone out. Sometimes in the middle of an icy and frigid atmosphere – antagonistic to God – it has burned slowly. Sometimes it was just embers, but the breath of the Spirit made it raise the spiritual temperature until it could catch fire.
Just as a forest fire spreads from tree to tree, so the fire of the Love of God spreads by contact. We have the mission to spread it. ‘And how do I do this?’, you might ask. St Catherine of Siena gives you the answer: “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.” Be the lover of God you were meant to be, and you will set the world on fire; be the student you are meant to be, the brother or sister you are meant to be, the friend you are meant to be… be the Christian you are meant to be and you will set the world on fire. ‘But the atmosphere is so cold in my class, in my college, in my city…’ That’s precisely why they really need your fire, they need you to be ‘on fire’.
Mary, Spouse of the Holy Spirit, you were also there in the Upper Room at Pentecost. Ignite my heart with the love of your Son, because the world desperately needs ‘fired-up Christians’. As St. Josemaria said: “Don’t let your life be barren. Be useful. Make yourself felt. Shine forth with the torch of your faith and your love. With your apostolic life, wipe out the trail of filth and slime left by the corrupt sowers of hatred. And set aflame all the ways of the earth with the fire of Christ that you bear in your heart.”
Rev. George Boronat M.D. S.T.D is a Catholic priest from the Prelature of Opus Dei, working in the Archdiocese of Southwark in London. He is the Chaplain of The Cedars Independent School in Croydon, and also works as Chaplain of Kelston Club & Study Centre (Balham) and Oakwood Independent School (Purley). He has developed his pastoral ministry mainly with young people and is the author of iPray with the Gospel: Resources to Help Young People Pray (www.ipraywiththegospel.org).