August 12, 2009

Fire and Lightning

Even in Biblical times, some people would just "go through the motions" regarding God. We can see this many times in the New Testament. The Pharisees were very good at following the letter of the law - of doing just the right ritual - but that's not enough. God wants emotion from us. He wants fire.

Why? Because God has emotion. God has fire. God is fire.

St. Leo the Great chose to describe Jesus, the Word of God, as fire. And he warns us that fire both "has the power to enlighten and the power to burn." (Hahn, p.275) St. John described Him, instead, as "the lion of the tribe of Judah" (Rev 5:5). Almost two thousand years later, that's still one of the strongest images of Christ, prompting C. S. Lewis to remind us that "he is not a tame lion".

Dr. Peter Kreeft once said that "Jesus is the only man in history who never bored anyone." He goes on to describe Jesus as lightning. Like fire, lightning is wild and, as St. Leo warned us already, it can burn.

When we truly encounter God, it shouldn't be a quiet, calm affair. When you receive Him in the Eucharist, is your heart set on fire? When you hear His Word, do you hear the roar of the great Lion? Let it happen. The next time you kneel at Mass and the Eucharist is raised, think about what is really happening - Who is really there. Say it to yourself, "this is God", until the spark starts up inside. Let yourself be filled with wonder and awe, as the lion gazes back at you.

Hahn, S. and Aquilina, M. (2003) Living the Mysteries. Our Sunday Visitor.
Kreeft, P. Shocking Beauty. (2007) Accessed 2009-Aug-11 at

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