“I came to cast fire upon the earth; and would that it were already kindled!” (Lk 12:49).
Immediately after these words in the Gospel of Luke, Jesus continues: “I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how I am constrained until it is accomplished!” (v.50). The fire may be the purifying Holy Spirit or charity. The baptism is the baptism of blood of the Passion (cf. Mk 10:39). This fire of the Holy Spirit, of true charity, is set aflame only through “the baptism” of the sufferings in our lives embraced out of love in union with Jesus on the cross. Paul said: “Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Phil 3:8).
We do not lose our lives for Jesus, or better, we do not find ourselves in Him only through martyrdom, but also by doing His will with love moment by moment.
Pius XI, speaking of the life of St. Therese, entirely spent for love, defined her life as “daily martyrdom”, a witness of heroic love. Those who train everyday in this martyrdom of love find themselves prepared, if they might be asked, to undergo martyrdom of blood: all this in order to find themselves in Jesus.
Three butterflies desired one day to draw closer to the fire to understand it. Stopping to observe one of them said: “It is something that gives light.” The second, feeling the heat, said: “It's something that warms.” But the third one took off in flight, went deep into it and became of itself a living flame. It alone understood what really is the fire!
If salt does not accept to be dissolved, it would not be worth anything; if wood does not accept to be burned, it would not give heat and would rot needlessly. “Whoever loses his life for My sake shall find it”.
A song is not a song until it is sung; a bell is not a bell until it is rung. By its very nature, love is not love until it is given away!
From the pierced heart of Jesus gushed forth, as two rivers, blood and water, figures of baptism and the Eucharist. By living these two sacraments, which makes us children of God and one in body with Jesus, we can enter the heart of Christ and, through Him, into the abyss of love of the Trinity.
This transformation process takes place each time, while making ourselves empty in order to love, we become capable of receiving the gift of Jesus in every neighbor we encounter.
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An Experience of Life:
Every act of love turns on a light. If then this takes place in the deepest darkness of hatred, then it provokes an explosion of light. Today, in our modern secular culture, there is less true Christian love than every before.
George Bielecki, a prisoner of Auschwitz, wrote about what happened when Father Kolbe offered his own life to save a prisoner condemned to death:
“It was a huge shock for the whole prison camp. We realized that someone among us, in that dark spiritual night of the soul, had raised the measure of love to the highest peak. A stranger, one like everyone else, tortured and deprived of his name and social condition, offered himself to a horrible death to save someone who was not even related to him. Thousands of prisoners convinced themselves that the world continued to exist and that our torturers could not destroy it. More than one individual started to seek this truth within themselves, to find it and to share it with other comrades in the prison camp.
To say that Father Kolbe died for one of us or for the family of that person would be an understatement. His death was the salvation of thousands of human lives. And in this, I could say, lies the greatness of that death. And as long as we live, we who were at Auschwitz, will bow our heads in memory of what had happened. That was a shock to us that brought back to us optimism, that regenerated us and gave us strength; we were dumbfounded by his gesture, which became for us a powerful burst of light capable of illuminating the dark night of the prison camp…”