Posted March 16, 2015:
Become a Flame!

by Fr. Jim Duffy and Fr. Emile-Marie Briere.

A flame is just a tiny little light that stands before the face of God. Like a vigil light, it flickers and bends before every breeze, but it has the power to give light to darkness, warmth to the heart, comfort to the afflicted, and consolation to our God! When it coalesces with other little flames, it can change hearts and eventually transform the whole world!

Because there is a darkness that covers the earth in our time. Pope John Paul II has said: "We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through …

We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel and the anti-Gospel. The confrontation lies within the plans of Divine Providence."

Jesus described himself as fire. "I have come to cast fire on the earth, and how I wish it were blazing already.’’ (Lk 12:49) Here Jesus is speaking about the loving fire in his heart for all men, women, and children, a fire which made him cry out from the cross: "I thirst!"

From this very same cross Jesus invited his Mother to join her heart to his, so that together their loving hearts might pray and sacrifice themselves for the world.

For the past 150 years Mary, our Mother, has extended Jesus’ urgent cry to her children on earth.

Essentially it consists of one simple, basic message: "Pray! Pray! Pray!" She is calling us to the simplest, fastest, and most necessary means of saving her children and helping transform all hearts into the image of her Son.

It is an awesome truth to realize that we have the power within us to help change and transform the world. The invitation comes from none other than Jesus himself:

"Pray always and never lose heart" (Lk 18:1).

Scripture tells us that Christ is the great High Priest who "lives to make intercession for us" (Heb 7:25). Through our baptism we are given the "priestly" privilege to intercede "through him, with him, and in him."

Anyone who wants to love. Anyone who is willing to unite his or her pain, suffering, and prayers to the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus.

For instance, the sick, the poor, the lonely already possess the spiritual gold of suffering that increases the power to intercede.

Those living in their "golden years" often have aches and pains that the Lord accepts and transforms into special graces for the members of their family most in need.

Today, it is noticeable that all kinds of people are being called by the Holy Spirit, who always works with his spouse, Our Lady.

Widows and widowers have the time to pray that they seldom had earlier in life when they were raising their families. There are others who are divorced, separated or of broken homes who are finding a new life in prayer. Retired businessmen and single people are also among those becoming flames.

It is true that we don’t often see how God uses our prayers, but the saints all testify that each one is fruitful.

Sister Consolata Betrone, a mystic, was told by Our Lady: "Think, one act of love can determine eternal happiness for a soul." Our Lady went on to say to her:

"Only in paradise will you realize the value and fruitfulness of saving souls."

The flame of intercession is primarily a gift for others which Our Lord has promised to repay a hundredfold. But it also helps us focus our life in Jesus, leading us safely through our fears and personal challenges.

Catherine Doherty was a woman who became a flame. At the tender age of ten years old she was inspired to offer her life for priests. Eventually, God led her to found Madonna House. Catherine explained to us where this flame came from: "To me, the Trinity is Fire, Flame and Movement… I feel myself being drawn into the centre of this fire… for the Trinity dwells within me."

For Catherine becoming a flame was easy, almost natural. She would tell us to go inward, where the Trinity of fire dwells in our souls, there to touch God, and stand before him in peace and stillness; then, to reach out and touch our neighbour, for we will have from the fire the grace, peace and gift our neighbour needs.

Once someone asked her how she prayed for other people. She replied: "That’s easy… I just hold them up to God. My words are not my own. They are the echoes of God’s voice that comes to me out of his silence. Now I know how to catch fire from his words and become a fire myself, shedding sparks over the face of the earth."

Catherine has written a book entitled Poustinia, which is simply the Russian word for "desert," and has become a term for a special place where people pray in solitude. In this book Catherine tells us that the "Poustinia of the heart …is the answer for the modern world."

Then she instructs us how she would begin praying, by "silencing the noise of my heart. It begins by folding the wings of the intellect and putting it in my heart."

For anyone who would really like to become a flame, may we humbly suggest that you might want to use Poustinia as a handbook.

The primary intention for intercession that Our Lady is calling for is for priests, bishops, and the Pope. If Our Lady and the Holy Spirit could bring forth little flames from all over the world, then her mantle of love and protection would cover these servants of the Church. Soon the whole Church would be renewed, and the world not long after!

From the Desert Fathers of the early Church there comes a meaningful story which sums up what this article intends to say:

Abba Lot came to Abba Joseph and said, "I keep my rule of life, I fast, I pray and meditate, and I maintain a contemplative silence. I do all of these things as well as I can in my own small way. As far as I can, I try to cleanse my mind of unwanted thoughts. Now what more should I do?"

The elder stood up and stretched out his hands toward heaven. His fingers became like lamps of flame. He said, "Become a living flame!"


Excerpted from Restoration, July-August 1990


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