When the Flicker Becomes a Flame


It is Sunday night and I am sitting in the room I call me den, listening to the wind howl outside and trying to kep the fire in the wood stove going. I am not sure if it is some bad wood, maybe too green or if there is a back draft coming down the stove pipe, but the fire just doesn’t want to go. A lick of flame will briefly light up the fire box, then quickly disappear. I have to admit it is much like my faith has been lately.

For about the last week and a half I have been feeling as if I am slipping backwards in my faith. I feel like God has somehow deserted me. I know he hasn’t but I guess I am just down. I almost skipped Mass today, I haven’t been doing my spiritual reading like I usually do and this is the first post in about a week. My life has been a struggle lately and it can be overwhelming. Like the fire, I can’t seem to catch. There is a flicker of flame and the it dies down to just a wisp of smoke.

But I know we sometimes need to go through tough times in order to be closer to God and for Him to make us stronger. Here is a passage from “The Imitation of Christ” by Thomas Kempis

When a man of good will is afflicted, tempted, and tormented by evil thoughts, he realizes clearly that his greatest need is God, without Whom he can do no good.

There was a time when I didn’t realize that my greatest need was God.I do realize it now.  These tough times will end and I will be stronger for having gone through them. It just takes patience, mixing the green wood with the seasoned, adjusting the flue and the draft. I’ll need to poke and prod the embers and the logs, but after awhile they will get the right amount of air and the flames will once again burn bright, the wood will glow orange, radiating heat throughout the room and soon the house, the cold will be but a memory.

In fact, I can see the flames already growing in the firebox and I am beginning to feel heat warming these old bones. Just like God does with our hearts.

In the Quiet

Stop what you are doing and listen. What do you hear? I hear the television, earlier it was internet radio. Do you hear something as well? Are you listening to music? Reading this and talking on the phone? Think about your whole day, are you one of those, like me, who always has to have some noise around you? Why?

The opposite of noise is quiet. Do you ever spend any time in quiet, with no noise? Are you afraid of quiet? Why? Are you afraid of what you might hear? What can you hear when it is quiet? Can you hear anything? Can you hear someone talking to you?

When we surround ourselves with noise, we can’t hear what is in the quiet. We can’t hear who is talking to us in the quiet. We can only hear noise, noise coming from the one who doesn’t want us to hear what the One who talks to us in the quiet wants us to hear. Him.

Take some quiet time and listen, you just might be surprised what you hear.

The Light Has Come Into the World


On Christmas Day we welcome Jesus into the world. Seven days later we welcome in a New Year. For me, I try to take some time to look back over the past year on New Year’s Day, I look at the lowlights and I look at the highlights. I can honestly say this year wasn’t all that bad. It wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t bad.

Oh, I’m still broke and struggling, my better half and I both have health problems, both of our vehicles are barely hanging on, but still (no, I am not going to say things could be worse) this year I finally found true faith in God and that is what has made it good.

What do I mean by true faith? Since my journey back to God began I would always reach a point where I couldn’t seem to go any further. It was like climbing a hill and being afraid to go down the other side. Even though Jesus was there waiting to lead me down the hill, I was afraid to go down there. I didn’t fully trust in God. This year it finally changed for me and I realized I could trust in God, all I needed to do was leave it in His hands.

I know now all I need to do is follow the light and God will keep me on the right path, out of the darkness. In my last post I talked about Satan and how he doesn’t want beauty in the world, art and music are the first things he has destroyed, this is because beauty represents light, the light that is Jesus.

“In him was life, and the life was the light of men.The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.: John 1:4-5

With light we can overcome evil, with light we can overcome temptation. There isn’t much light in today’s world, for many the light has become dim, or even non-existent. It has been replaced by materialism, narcissism and a loss of moral responsibility. Those who see the light are chastised and degraded, ostracized by others. Those who still see the light and believe in the light are more and more afraid to say anything out of fear of what might happen to them. This is the world of darkness we now live in. We can’t be afraid of following the light.

“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?”  – Ps 27:1

On this first day of the year, we need to stop being afraid, we need to follow the light, if we don’t we are doomed.

“Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’” – John 8:12

Like I did, we all need to get to the top of the hill, realize Jesus will protect us and follow Him down the other side.

“And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does what is true comes to the light, that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been wrought in God”. – John 3:19-21