GO SET ALL ON FIRE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

St. Francis Xavier preaching

The last words that St. Ignatius of Loyola addressed to his dear friend Francis Xavier, before he embarked on one of the greatest missionary enterprises in the history of Christianity on his way to India were GO SET ALL ON FIRE! (Read the classic of Louis de Wohl on the life of St. Francis Xavier titled, “Go set all on fire”).

The fiery Dominican Apostle and preacher, St. Vincent Ferrer, O.P. asserted: “Fiery darts cannot shoot out of a man with an icy heart!” Jesus Himself gave witness to this: “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”

From the depths of His Sacred Heart Jesus exclaimed:  “I have come to cast FIRE on the earth and I am not at peace until that fire be enkindled.”(Lk. 12:49)  One of the prayers in the Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is “Sacred Heart of Jesus, burning furnace of charity, have mercy on us.”

After nine days of prayer and fasting in the Upper Room (Cenacle) with the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles in tongues of fire.  This fire of the Holy Spirit transformed these weak, irresolute, confused and somewhat ignorant men into valiant soldiers of Christ, ready and willing to travel to the most distant and remote regions of the earth to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. (Acts 2) All of them—with the exception of the Apostle St. John—sealed their lives with the glorious shedding of blood in martyrdom. God’s FIRE transformed them radically and permanently!

St. Philip Neri and fire
St. Philip Neri had  his own Pentecost experience. After praying and fasting for nine days in one of the catacombs of Rome, the Holy Spirit descended in the form of a ball of FIRE and entered his mouth and descended into his heart. From that time on his heart would beat violently due to the excessive love of the FIRE of God’s love that literally consumed him. After death on examining Neri, they noticed that his rib cage protruded and ribs were actually broken. How? The violent beating of the heart ended up by breaking his rib bones! GOD’S FIRE!

INDIFFERENCE! One of the most widespread and pernicious signs of the times is that of RELIGIOUS INDIFFERENCE. Indeed there are hostile and antagonistic forces against Jesus and His Church--- there always have been and always will be! However, a modern malady of  Indifference, tepidity, lukewarmness, a ‘Whatever” attitude has permeated modern society. The fire has been extinguished and the ashen coals are smoldering in a weak stew of indifference which engenders mediocre followers of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

 The Archbishop Cardinal of Buenos Aires in the 1980’s (Juan Carlos Aramburu) put it bluntly:  “The Church is a sleeping giant!” There are more than a billion Catholics spread throughout the world!  How many of these are asleep, taking a siesta or might even be in a state of coma????  Where is that fire?

How does God view this lack of FIRE?  How does God look down from heaven on the indifferent? The words from the final book of the Bible, the Book of Revelation, should penetrate us to the very depths of our hearts!

Following are two sharp exhortations and admonitions. The first is, “Be careful because you have lost your first love. Return to your first love or else I will take your candelabra.” Remember the fervor you experienced that day of your first Communion? Has that fervor all but extinguished in your heart?

Then listen to these words:  “To the angel of the church in Laodicea, write this: “The Amen, the faithful and true witness, the source of God’s creation says this: I know your works; I know that you are neither cold nor hot, I wish you were either cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.”( Apoc. 3: 14-16).


Pentecost and tongues of fire
To keep a bonfire burning the key is to keep feeding the flames. Brushwood, dry leaves, twigs and branches must be constantly cast into the fire, if not there is the risk that the bonfire will die!   We must fan the flame in our spiritual lives!

FIRE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT!!!! Why not in this precise moment fall to your knees and beg for your own personal PENTECOST experience!  It is never too late! God is always ready and waiting patiently for well-disposed, humble and docile hearts!

If the Apostles could receive that FIRE, if St Francis Xavier was commissioned to ignite flames, if St. Philip Neri was consumed to the very depths of his heart with that Pentecost FIRE why can’t we open our hearts here and now to receive that same FIRE!

GOD GIVES!  The nature of God’s essence is utter goodness and self-giving. God loves to give. He gave His only Son for us to save us for all eternity. God still longs to give to us. We will more quickly tire of receiving God’s gifts than God tire of giving His gifts to us!

Jesus and the Holy Spirit
Jesus gave a special Gift that Easter evening when the Apostles were in the Upper Room.  The Risen Lord came through the door and greeted the Apostles with these words: “Shalom! Receive the Holy Spirit….” (Jn. 20:21-23)

As the Holy Spirit rushed impetuously on David upon his anointing by the prophet Samuel, may the Holy Spirit rush on us.(I Samuel 16:13) As Jesus breathed forth the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles, may Jesus breath on us.  As the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles in tongues of fire on Pentecost may we receive at least a spark of that same Holy Spirit!

A most efficacious remedy for the malady of “spiritual coma” (lukewarmness and tepidity which generates mediocrity) is the FIRE of the Holy Spirit.

May Our Lady come to our aid! Mary is Daughter of the Eternal Father, Mother of the Divine Son, and Mystical Spouse of the Holy Spirit. Let us implore her intercession: “Come Holy Spirit come, through the heart of Mary….”