“I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!” // Luke 12:49
The Readings today are vivid in promise and imagery.
Saint Paul’s prayer bespeaks the promise: “May [God] grant you in accord with the riches of his glory to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner self” (Ephesians 3:16). And Jesus expresses His longing love in vivid imagery, “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!” (Luke 12:49).
But I wonder if sometimes we might want a break from the absolute nature and intensity of the Gospel. We may especially want a break when Jesus says He brings tension and outright conflict: “From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three” (Luke 12:52).
Many of us have what people call the “nesting instinct.” I can hardly help it. Other Sisters have teasingly called me ‘grandma.’ I don’t mind because it’s true that I love being in and creating spaces where people feel nurtured and have what they need. I relish helping people feel loved, appreciated, and honored.
In practice, though, I’ve had to do a lot of reflection and growth precisely here. What does it mean to create a hospitable, loving environment when truth-in-charity means having a tough conversation to establish better boundaries? When I hear Saint Paul reference Jesus’ promise to renew and strengthen our innermost self, I think of how this impacts my closest relationships. Those are the people who will feel the impact most directly when I allow the Lord to help me conform my heart to His way of mercy and love. This kind of transformation can indeed create the precise division and conflict I naturally avoid.
So what is the counterbalance?
I don’t think there is one. The call is to lean in.
Sister, each time we lean into Christ Who is Truth, we quickly rediscover the intense imperative to listen and live in humility. The more we allow ourselves to be evangelized by the beauty of the Gospel, the more we realize how little we know and how much we need mercy. Sister, may Jesus Who is meek and humble of heart make our hearts more and more like His.Be evangelized by the beauty of the Gospel. // Sister Maria Kim Bui Click To Tweet