January 17th is the Feast Day of St. Antony of Egypt, one of the fourth-century Desert Fathers and Mothers whose wisdom was collected and has been passed down to our own day in various translations.
I first encountered them in Thomas Merton’s translation, The Wisdom of the Desert, and I turn back to it periodically, especially now that I, too, live in a desert. There is something about the pithy sayings and the honest challenges of what it is to live in a Christian Community that speak to me.
I offer one to you today for your reflection:
Abbess Syncletica of holy memory said: There is labor and great struggle for the impious who are converted to God, but after that comes inexpressible joy. A man who wants to light a fire first is plagued by smoke, and the smoke drives him to tears, yet finally, he gets the fire that he wants. So also it is written: Our God is a consuming fire. Hence we ought to light the divine fire in ourselves with labor and with tears.
Is your faith a blazing fire that no longer causes tears? Or are you weeping with the smoke, hoping the sparks will catch and develop into a bright and consuming fire? Where do you find the fuel for the flame of your faith?
Following on the reflection by George and Donna Hartz on their trip to Kisii, Kenya, Bishop Reddall invites those who might be interested in a pilgrimage to Kisii in the summer of 2023 to email Serrena Fuentes at Serrena@azdiocese.org