Kathy Bernard - Publisher
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'I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled' (Luke 12:49).

Have you ever attended a pep rally? 

Most of us know it is designed to stir emotions and bring all our energies to the forefront, making a tunnel vision focus on an event or happening.  The fever starts slow to capture a unified interest then builds up to a crescendo that rouses and revives the audience.  It is surprising to see even the most conservative people tearing off their mental safety restraints to unite in a spirit of great joy and celebration. 

But where are the pep rallies for the Christian?  Shouldn't we want and experience that same excitement and happiness when we enter the house of the Lord?   Like those pep rallies, we need to be uplifted, feel the unique and infinite power of the Holy Spirit, and have the teachings of Christ reinforced and acknowledged.  And we should get that by going to our churches each Sunday.  Hebrews 10:25 tells us  “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching”.  We need to hear about others in the bible proclaiming Christian triumphs and hear our contemporaries tell of their own victories over this earth’s tribulations.  It is vital that we share this.  As Christians, we are a family growing strong within ourselves but knowing the supreme joy that we are together in Christ each time we gather in His Name.

Lighting the fire means to live joyfully for Christ, confidently following His teachings as best as we know how, loving Him above all and never forgetting to put Him first in everything we do.  We are steadfast in obedience to Him, asking the Holy Spirit to kindle our fervor and keeping our eyes fixed ahead on Jesus.   In everything we do, we continue to be focused and spiritually aware, living as we were taught by the scriptures. Becoming instruments of truth to others, we remember always to renew and refuel through the Holy Eucharist each Sunday.

Some of us have allowed our faith fire to grow so dim we have grown alienated from Jesus Christ.  We are slowly losing our Christ relationship.  But no matter how small our flame, no matter how feeble the light, there is always a way to ignite it to its full potential through prayer and dedication.  When we give full attention to our Sunday homilies, it should motivate us to Christian action, moving us to share our beliefs and our faith with others who, in turn, can inspire.   Together we can re-stoke the joyousness of being a Christian. 

It is my belief that being on fire for the Lord can keep us powerfully and spiritually wired in a God kinship that moves ahead with energy.  It is my belief that though we may know the bible and all it teaches, it is important to hear and see others stand strong in the faith of being a Christian, professing how the Lord has intervened in their lives.  It moves us to excel for Him, keeps our internal flame alive, and pushes us forward in Christ.

Imagine a marriage that has been allowed to grow stale over time because the excitement of that relationship has stopped growing and maturing.  One might say to a spouse,  “There is no passion or vitality between us and we are not on the same page anymore.  You don’t tell me you love me and you don’t make me feel attracted to you.  The spark we used to have is gone and life has become boring and drab.” 

As Christian Catholics, we must not allow ourselves to be fed with tasteless baby food.  If we are impassive we will never get to the grown up food.  We will never get beyond the baby pablum to the excitement and the high of the “good stuff”.  There will be times when we just don’t want to go to church.  We may feel there is nothing to get excited about so we would rather curl up in bed and let the weekend take its course in the blissful solitude of mundane sleep.  We are too tired and spiritually exhausted to drag ourselves out to church where we will feel weighted with the things we have been doing wrong or the things we do right turn out wrong.  The very fact of going calls up all the sadness and gloom for there we face the reality and fragility of our lives and the sibilant whispers of guilt that come alive when we hear things we have not worked on as Christians.  But Rev 3:16 says, So, because you are lukewarm--neither hot nor cold--I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”

Listen to what Matthew 11:28-30 tells us:   “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."   These are words that comfort and inspire, lighting our ray of hope.  Jesus says where there are two or more gathered in My Name, there I will be also.  This is clearly something to get excited about.   It makes us lift up our heads in gratitude for we have a Mighty Warrior running ahead, lighting our way with a torch of fire.

Think about how far the Lord has brought you through a trial in your life and allow the fire of victory to burn within you.  Think about how God has brought your family home safely day after day so express your gratitude by stoking your fire.  Think about the times you left the doctor’s office and you were blessed with a clean bill of health. Keep your fire strong and praise Him for His mighty blessings.  Mark 9: 49-50 says, “For every one will be salted with fire. Salt is good; but if the salt has lost its saltiness, how will you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”  

Have you felt the magnificent presence of our Lord and felt warm in the deep recesses of your soul?  Have you been motivated enough lately to press on courageously for the Lord?  If your faith is flickering and you seem to be running on empty like a car out of gas, it is time to fill yourselves up with God's everlasting fuel.   For a spiritual activation ask God to recharge your soul.  Go to church, share in the Holy Eucharist and bask in God’s eternal pep rally, for when we gather in truth, there the embers will burn strong for Christ.

“I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.”   – Matt 3:11

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