Saturday, October 15, 2016



Cellphone after battery exploded

I guess that most of us have heard about Samsung’s big problem that was in the news this week. One million Samsung Galaxy Note 7 cellphones were recalled because of numerous reports that their lithium ion batteries were catching fire and exploding or melting the phones.

I heard someone on the radio explain the issue in simple terms: we keep demanding that our phones do more things, have a longer battery life between chargings, and be lighter and thinner. All of these demands have meant that the engineers have packed more and more energy into smaller and smaller batteries. Sooner or later, something had to give. It just did.


This past Tuesday, the mass reading from Galatians ended with this sentence: “In Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor the lack of it counts for anything; only faith, which expresses itself through love.”(Gal. 5:6). The Greek for the last phrase says literally, “through faith powered by love.” The verb in the original is energoumene (the root of our verb “energize”).

In other words, our faith as Christians is not simply intellectual assent to a list of doctrines, but rather it is belief put into practice, powered and energized by love.

As I sat with my Greek New Testament on my lap, I had this vision: what if every Christian was so filled with the power and energy of love that reports started to spread of Christians spontaneously catching fire, exploding with God’s love for the poor, the less fortunate, the sinner, the sick the homeless. Imagine the world catching fire with Christ’s love, a world filled with people whose faith is energized by love -- like Mother Teresa, Francis of Assisi, Damien the Leper, and Elizabeth Ann Seton!


Today, October 15, is the feast of that remarkable Doctor of the Church, Teresa of Avila. She was a great example of someone filled with the energy of the Spirit, afire with God’s love for people.  She was packed with divine energy, and occasionally, you could say, that energy caused her to burst into flames of love.

She, along with John of the Cross, was a great reformer of the Carmelite Order, a project that attracted slanderous opposition on every side, yet all the while she continued to teach her sisters about humility, patience, and the love of God. Incredibly, in the midst of all that turmoil, she managed to write some of the church’s deepest treatises on mystical prayer.

Theresa was surely someone who was charged with the love of God and neighbor.

“I want to remind you to stir into flame the strength and boldness that is in you” (2 Tim. 1:6)

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