Kindle in Them the Fire of Your Love

Photography © by Tom Frankenfield

Our Journey

First of all, I am very privileged to be given this opportunity to share some reflections with the readers of The Integrated Catholic Life.  I have been impressed with the quality of the site and I hope to make a positive contribution.

In the upcoming weeks and months, I will present spirituality topics relating the active involvement of our God in the lives of His people.  My emphasis will often be on the works of the Holy Spirit in today’s world.  I am excited to receive comments and engage in active dialogue.  It is my hope that we can grow together on this journey.  Off we go…

The Holy Spirit in Our Lives

As part of the Blessed Trinity, the Holy Spirit is truly the center of our faith.  In fact, the opening sentence from the Holy Spirit section of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) identifies the importance of the Spirit in our relationship with Jesus. “No one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit.”(CCC 683)  This section of the CCC goes further to say, “This knowledge of faith is possible only in the Holy Spirit: to be in touch with Christ, we must first have been touched by the Holy Spirit.” (CCC 683)

It is in the Sacrament of Baptism where we are first touched and when we receive the Holy Spirit.  Therefore, because of the Holy Spirit in Baptism, we all have the possibly of experiencing and knowing Jesus. It is obvious that through this Sacrament, a relationship with God is able to bloom. It is through his relationship that St. Paul was able to ask the Corinthians the question, “Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?”  (1 Cor 3:16).  As part of Scripture, that question moves across eternity, including to us on this day through the power of the Holy Spirit.

When it comes to our relationship to the Holy Spirit, many of us are aware of the Prayer to the Holy Spirit often named “Come, Holy Spirit.”  I first learned the prayer as a child and it has been one of the core prayers in my daily life ever since.  Also, I shared this prayer often in my many ministries, especially in every meeting I ever attended in the Cursillo Movement. 

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth…   Amen.

Being Kindled

Today as I reflect on the beginning of this special prayer, I feel an embracing love in the power of one word – kindle.  It is found in the phrase that asks the Spirit of God to kindle in me the fire of the Spirit’s love.  It is an amazing line which contains this verb.  The verb means to “start a fire”.  The fire here is the flame of the Holy Spirit’s love.  The Spirit’s love is unconditional and generous beyond measure.  Not only is that love part of our prayer but it is God’s desire for us –to be “on fire” with His love.

Although it is truly God’s desire to have the Spirit alive in our lives, we remain in constant temptation from the world around us.  We see clear contrasts with in today’s modern culture.  Even something as simple as defining the word, kindle, shows this difference.  Were we to ask “people on the street” to define what kindle meant, many would not get many correct answers.

For fun, I asked a few parishioners after Mass.  Almost everyone mentioned the new reading machine, called “The Kindle”, that is revolutionizing the way we read books.  Finally, some did not think kindle was part of the prayer because they interpreted the word as being enkindle. 

In our prayer to the Holy Spirit, we pray for a fire in our hearts that is placed there by God’s Spirit.  So, are you ready to be kindled by the Holy Spirit?  Are you I ready to share the fire of God’s love with others?  

I see this as at least two separate processes.  First, being set afire and finally spreading that fire.  When I look at myself personally I am usually a bit overwhelmed and bashful about being set afire.  It is one thing to just recite this prayer but to admit to God that I’m willing to have my heart kindled and set afire with love means I am willing to have my life changed, too.  It also means that I’m willing to take God’s love to others.   In conclusion, I think that God is calling our kindle to be just a spark.  It is up to us to make that spark grow.  How does that make you feel?

So, I challenge you now to reflect on these points and how they have an impact on your ministry and your family relationships.

For Your Reflection

From a Ministry Perspective:

  1. What areas of your ministry need to be kindled so that you can be the fire of the Holy Spirit?
  2. What obstacles will you have to overcome to pray with your whole heart, “Come Holy Spirit…?”

From a Domestic Church Perspective:

  1. In your Domestic Church, as parent, sibling, widow or single person, how will being kindled change the dynamics of domestic relationships and draw everyone closer to God?
  2. What obstacles will you have to overcome to pray with your whole heart, “Come Holy Spirit…?”

May the Holy Spirit kindle each one of your hearts with a love that truly changes our world.  I would love your response, thoughts, stories and ideas.

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About the Author

Deacon Tom Frankenfield is a Permanent Deacon from the Archdiocese of Omaha who is currently serving the people of Mary Our Queen Parish in Omaha. He is a Spiritual Director, Retreat Master and noted speaker. For fun, he is a storyteller, potter, puppeteer, guitarist and poet. Deacon Tom is married and has three grown children and three amazing grandchildren.

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