Let us remain very far from all that sparkles; let us love our littleness;
let us love to feel nothing. Then we shall be poor in spirit,
and Jesus will come to look for us, and however far we may be,
He will transform us in flames of love.
St. Thérèse of Lisieux
from a letter to her oldest sister Marie, September 17, 1896
(a brush pile / Julie Cook / 2020)
You know I’m not one for the notion of coincidence but rather the working of the Holy Spirit.
So when we had a guy come to use a dozer to push out a brush pile we’d had growing
and growing over the years along the edge of our woods, all in order to finally burn it,
imagine my thoughts when that very same day the quote by St. Thérèse of Lisieux
showed up in my inbox.
“He will transform us in flames of love”
It seems however that the fellow who pushed out the brush pile was a bit too zealous
in his bulldozing.
He pushed lots of dirt in with the brush…lots and lots of dirt.
Dirt, particularly wet dirt saturated by the remains of Hurricane Delta, will not burn…ever.
We jumped the hoops, gotten the necessary burn permit, and my
valiant husband tried his best to burn that brush—
Even late into the night…
And yet it only smoldered.
For hours it smoldered and smoked as if a wet blanket lay atop…
All the smoking made me wish that I had a pig put inside all that mess in order
to have a fabulous BBQ.
Yet the wet dirt and wet matted grass clippings piled on top of the real brush underneath
smothered any attempt to burn the actual wood, limbs, and shrubbery.
And so by this afternoon, we had a shorter pile in height, but still a pile nonetheless.
No flames here.
But in the end, the one thing I do know is that we will all need the burning flames of God’s love
to transform our hearts from the trappings of this world…
and it was the Little Flower, St.Thérèse of Lisieux, who reminded me of such exactly when
I was searching for a flame.
For this reason, I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God,
which is in you through the laying on of my hands.
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power,
love, and self-discipline.
So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner.
Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.
He has saved us and called us to a holy life-not because of anything we have done
but because of his own purpose and grace.
This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,
but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus,
who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.