Monday, October 17, 2005

Set Yourself Ablaze!

Hermits fascinate me. Desert Fathers and Mothers--the Abbas and the Ammas of the ancient church--intrigue me. Their teachings are not easy. Speaking as they do from a time and a lifestyle so far removed from our pampered American ways ,they force us to make comparisons and assess ourselves. We may think they were excessive and nuts. Or we may think we're lukewarm and self-satisfied. But we can't brush off the sayings with ease.

Some of the brief stories that are collected under the "sayings" of the desert sages poke me sharply in the soul. They lay me out under a glaring sun, bare spiritually to my own eyes. It's not usually a pretty sight. My judgmentalism can't take cover. My self-indulgence--gluttony, lustful thoughts, critical attitudes, selfishness--are spotlighted. Holiness and sacrifice were priorities for the Abbas and Ammas. They are not always number one every minute of my day. Or every hour.

How about you? Is holiness a priority with you right now? Today?
"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."

One of my favorite of the sayings is the following:
Abba Lot went to see Abba Joseph and said to him, 'Abba as far as I can I say my little office, I fast a little, I pray and meditate, I live in peace and as far as I can, I purify my thoughts. What else can I do?' then the old man stood up and stretched his hands towards heaven. His fingers became like ten lamps of fire and he said to him, 'If you will, you can become all flame.'

I long for the will of stone that indefatigably pursues that becoming. I don't have it. I pray just to want it. Imagine the wonder of it, to be luminous from the inside out, on fire for the Lord, full of clarity, the obstacles falling away, the stone rolling aside.

Let's face it, becoming all flame is a scary proposition. Tempting, yes. Desirable and profitable? Oh, yes. But terrifying. Everything changes.

Just imagine how your life--your work, your relationships, your spiritual progress, your creative activities, your body--would develop and prosper if such power transformed you.

Do you want to be ablaze? Do you wish to become all flame?

Ask the God who is a consuming fire. Ask the Light of the World. Ask the one who dwells in inapproachable light. Let's ask, and not be afraid. Let's be strong and very courageous.

Third Day, the Christian blues-rock/worship group, wrote a song titled "Consuming Fire." Some of the lines say this:

Set this place on fire,
Send your spirit, Savior.
Rescue from the mire.
Show your servant favor.

Sing it with me. Only change the words this much: Set me, Lord, on fire!

And pray for me, please. I am not brave enough to fully ignite, and I want to be.

We can start a raging wildfire. If we will.


Terri said...

Hey, Mir...I'm not sure I knew you were a Third Day fan, but they are my fav band, perhaps of all time. And Consuming Fire is one of their finest. I sorta lives in the number three slot of my CD player.

Thanks for the inspiration to burn. Your light shines always.


Brenda Coulter said...

Mirtika, welcome to blogland. We've been waiting for you!

Camy Tang said...

Hey there! I'm so glad you got a blog now! I also love the name of your blog--it totally made me laugh.

Mirtika said...

Whoa, I gots my first comments! Woohoo. And Miz Coulter, blogger extraordinaire, has been waiting for ME??? ME???

Does that mean you're gonna link me, sugarpie?

Hi, Terri! How could anyone NOT like Third Day? Especially the great vocals.

Camy, sweetie. Thanks for helping me troubleshoot. As I said. Expect me to goof!