Healing Fire Just as a covered object left out in the sun cannot be penetrated by the sun’s rays, in the same way, once the covering of the soul is removed, the soul opens itself fully to the rays of the sun. The more rust of sin is consumed by fire, the more the soul responds to that love, and its joy increases. — Saint Catherine of Genoa The paradox of the Christian path is that we are called to one-ness with God, but we are also called to two-ness. Within the Trinity, there is a dance, a community, a joy that comes from this giving and receiving for eternity. Christ entered into our human experience, becoming human, so as to be the focal point of our connection with the ‘Infinite Other’, revealed as all-consuming love. All of our relationships with others, if loving, is a pale reflection compared to what we are moving toward if we are open to loving relationships. Even if we care but little for someone, but there is love, say the love we may have for those we meet on a daily basis. Not something big, or catches our attention, yet in our hearts, there is a love and concern for them Even then, when in some sort of relationship, no matter how long or short, we have to put some part of ourselves aside in order to deal with who is before us. So there is perhaps some little sacrifice we pay for being open to others. The deeper the relationship, if a loving one, say for those in our work environment, or school, or church, again, we are drawn out of ourselves in service to others. Even if slight, it still has a cost. With dear friends, family and especially if married, with our spouses, the cost is even greater. For if any relationship of any depth is to be experienced, then there is a need for a more radical displacement of the ego for growth to happen. It is a give and take. If one-sided, it is not a truly loving relationship, but one party using the other. The more self-centered one is, the more isolated, though that isolation may be thought of as independence. So friendships, family relationships, and marriages can end. To grow in love with others becomes more and more difficult as one ages and continues down the road of keeping others at bay, or using them to feed some need. So there is always some sort of ‘fire of purification’ going on in our everyday relationships, little deaths, so that someone may be helped or served, or simply be with. It is a choice in the end. Perhaps at first, small choices, then as maturity deepens, greater strides in the ability to connect more deeply with others. This circle can expand as one develops trust, as well as a deepening love of self that is not based on narcissism. It is a lifelong journey. As well as a difficult one. All of this is incorporated into our relationship with God. For the longing of our hearts, is based on the call of the grace of Trinity’s desire for each of us to enter into the eternal dance, the community of the Trinity. Yet, to be one with God is to allow the fire of God’s love to draw us out, to heal us, to take away all that covers us as a false way to find protection from others, as well as God. For the very thing we most long for, is what we can also fear….at bottom it may be based on the fear of a loss of self. A real fear, for we must lose self in order to find out who we really are. An invitation to drop the façade that our culture demands that we take on in order to fit in. It is true that religion and politics can brainwash its followers. However, so can the prominent cultural movements. There is truth of course presented to us by religion/culture/politics, but what we are told we need by the times/culture we live in are mostly based on the fear of having nothing, of being left out, ignored and looked upon as unimportant. Once it is found out that there is a deeper meaning to life, that our deepest longings when we actually find out what they are, we begin to truly live. Everything else is sand that slips between our fingers. All false gods, be they those of religion, or society, die. What is left in the ashes is the seed of eternal life waiting to sprout forth after all else is burned away by the passionate love of God the Father.