Moment 7: Hearts on Fire
Updated: Feb 11
Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us? Luke 24:32
I always love the story of the Road to Emmaus. Earts on fire even when they did not really understand. I relate to this.
And in our exploration of the Epiphany, I felt that perhaps the hearts of the Magi were also on fire on the journey to Bethlehem and when they paid homage to God, incarnate swaddled in a manger. Both moments in time God was revealing Godself to the world and it made our human hearts burst into flame. This is what good, true, just relationships do.
God is connected to the world and the world to God -- and our hearts were burning with this overflowing love.
In Laudato Si' Pope Francis highlights how each aspect of creation participates in a harmonious world created God: “We can say that ‘alongside revelation properly so called, contained in sacred Scripture, there is a divine manifestation in the blaze of the sun and the fall of night.’” When we pay attention to God’s self-communication in the world, we will “learn to see ourselves in relation to all other creatures” (LS 85).
Humanity is part of the web of life on our sacred planet:
“All of us are linked by unseen bonds and together form a kind of universal family, a sublime communion which fills us with a sacred, affectionate and humble respect” Pope Francis, LS 89.
Everything in the universe is connected and this reflects the triune communion of energetic love that is God who created, sustains and redeems everything.
Today's blog invites readers to see fire as energy and the way the Magi story defines speaking truth to power.
Faith leaders like those involved with the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace (2014) and Christian ethicists like Christiana Peppard have asked believers to reflect deeply on their relationship with the fuels that provide us with energy and make the changes that are urgently needed. Pope Francis agrees: “We know that technology based on the use of highly polluting fossil fuels—especially coal, but also oil and, to a lesser degree, gas—needs to be progressively replaced without delay” (LS 165).
To do this we must hone our holy noticing. How is energy produced? How much do we use and why? What are the consequences of this use? To be stewards of creation, we must connect the dots. Energy use in our homes, workplaces, schools, and churches can be a faithful witness to God’s invitation to form energetic bonds of love. Energy stewardship as love can offer new meaning previously hidden to the story of the burning bush.
Read and reflect on Exodus 3:3–12. What does this passage tell us about the power of God? What could it tell us about nonrenewable energy sources? What justice aspects of this passage (e.g., freeing people from oppression) connect to energy injustices? Why is Moses’s participation important? How could this motivate you to become “Moses”-like in our use of energy?
We may think faithful energy stewardship just means driving less or having fewer gas-guzzling cars but holy noticing reminds us that the production of plastics requires a lot of water and fossil fuels. Thus, we need to both drive less and buy more wisely—as well as other life choices. This does not have to be a hardship; stewardship of creation can be a joyful response to the gospel.
Today we are invited to build strong webs of love between lovers and beloveds that will not tolerate anything less than abundant life for all. It requires truth seeking, ingenuity, integrity, perseverance, and creativity to continually orient our actions toward Love. Becoming a faithful energy steward -- radiating trinitarian dynamism and inspiring others to love our common home in creative ways -- can help you awaken to the Triune family of love. If this sets your heart on fire, check out my blog November 9th for a book club I hosted for my latest book about Laudato Si' called "Caring for Our Common Home" (LINK)
But what about power?
On December 17 (published online January 3rd), Jaime L. Waters wrote "A transition of power is coming. The Magi show us how to resist corrupt leadership" for Americanmagazine.org. Check out the images that are displayed on this website and others like Politico.
And tonight I write this blog as I watch the unfolding of the violence at the Capitol building in Washington, DC. and I appreciate her work even more.
She writes: "In the Gospel reading from Matthew, we hear King Herod’s concern about Jesus being king of the Jews, interpreting his birth as a potential threat to power." She then writes about how the Jewish leaders he consults speak truth to power and affirm the significance of the Messiah while never denying their awareness of Herod's evil intent. Matthew writes about Herod's enlistment of the Magi as spies both also about how their gifts confirm the royalty of the child they seek: "Matthew depicts them offering gifts that his Jewish audience would recognize as significant: gold, frankincense and myrrh, gifts connected with royalty, priesthood and anointing." And then God communicates with the Magi during a dream to warn them not to return to Herod -- which they do.
Both the Jewish leaders and the Magi resist the corrupt use of political power that erodes relationality and diminishes abundant life. This is a lesson we need today and in the days ahead: "these readings remind us to be grateful for those who confront unjust leaders and to be alert to the ways God continues to call us to speak truth to power."
Speak truth to power -- and that truth is to resist political, social, cultural and religions leadership that does not advocate for living in right relationship with each other and with creation.
What is the source of this interconnectivity and right relationship?
God as a divine triune family - bonded by love, justice, compassion.
“The divine Persons are subsistent relations, and the world created according to the divine model, is a web of relationships” Pope Francis, LS 240.
God the Creator is the ultimate source of everything, the Son intimately united himself with Earth, and the Spirit is the creative dynamism and bond of love at the heart of the universe (LS 238). They are a perfect communion—they have perfected “being with” one another.
This is the source of our vocation as faithful energy stewards.
Spend some time with the following quote from Pope Francis:
Creatures tend toward God, and in turn it is proper to every living being to tend toward other things, so that throughout the universe we can find any number of constant and secretly interwoven relationships. This leads us not only to marvel at the manifold connections existing among creatures, but also to discover a key to our own fulfillment. The human person grows more, matures more and is sanctified more to the extent that he or she enters into relationships, going out of themselves to live in communion with God, with others and with all creatures. In this way, they make their own the trinitarian dynamism which God imprinted in them when they were created. Pope Francis, LS 240.
Then watch the trailer for the HBO documentary Happening: A Clean Energy Revolution (LINK). With what types of energy are you familiar? What ones were new and worth looking into? In what ways could your church be part of this green revolution? How can you ignite the hearts of your fellow sojourners in your parish? Your Pastor? Your family?
A green energy path -- one that is life giving and not polluting, dirty, exploitive, nor extractive -- will allow us all to reach our fullest potential as images of a triune God: Lover, Beloved, and Love. And Christian disciples speak this truth to corrupt power - always.
Stay tuned for one last blog moment together on Friday before our retreat this Saturday!
And just in case :) LINK TO REGISTER -- CLICK HERE