St. Catherine of Siena (+1380), Italian tertiary of the Dominican order, philosopher and theologian, and, most importantly, mystic lover of Jesus, prays, "You are a fire always burning but never consuming; you are a fire consuming in your heat all the soul's selfish love; you are a fire lifting all chill and giving light".
In today's gospel Luke (12:49-56), Jesus speaks of fire. He does so, however, in-at least initially-terrifying terms:"Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division!" Oh my.Where are You Prince of Peace?!?
The fire of which Jesus speaks is that of divine love. This may seem terrifying, but Jesus seeks to make the point that His love is all-consuming, and that because it comes directly from the Source, it can be no other way. Divine love is an absolute. And, divine love is to be freely received, and not all may wish to receive it. Hence, the "division" which Jesus mentions. If only we knew more clearly that a mysterious peace, a peace that surpasses understanding, follows such love, we would not hesitate to say "yes".
St. Catherine of Siena further prays, and, in her prayer, encourages us to say "yes": "In your nature, eternal Godhead, I shall come to know my nature. And what is my nature, O boundless Love? It is fire, because you are nothing but a fire of love. And you have given humankind a share in this nature for by the fire of love you created us."
"Come...enkindle in us the fire of Your love..."
Yours in the Prince of Peace,
From the desk of the Rector