“Did ever a people hear the voice of the living God speaking from the heart of the fire, as you have heard it, and remain alive?”
This is a breath-taking image from the reading from Deuteronomy for the Feast of the Holy Trinity. Nowadays, unfortunately, we have less and less opportunity to spend time at a real open fire. A lighted candle is a good echo of the fire in this time of increasing restrictions on open fires.
But like the desert people in the time of Deuteronomy we need to expose ourselves to fire. The great warmth, and indeed mystery, of the heart of the fire is a privilege to enjoy. It can foster deep reflection and can aid the pondering of mystery. In the quotation above we are told that, if we let the fire speak to us, the Divine voice can be life changing.
The creed we use at Mass is rich in its articulation of the meditation on the Trinity.
We hear the formulae but I wonder if we miss the music behind the words.
How often do we bless ourselves hastily with the Sign of the Cross? Has the encrustation of frequent use dimmed the mighty energy of this prayer?
The Deuteronomy reading asks if we are willing to let the heart of the fire speak to our own hearts.
It reminds us of another fire story, from the last chapter of St John’s Gospel: “As soon as the disciples came ashore, they saw that there was some bread there and a charcoal fire with fish cooking on it.”
The well-reared Jesus is inspired to have a welcoming warmth after the struggle in the dark depths. It is a welcoming sight for hungry and weary workers.
The love-fire is so necessary to burn the fog of gloom and anxiety of the present pandemic and reveal glowing opportunities of the everyday.
We truly need, each in their own way, to let the heart be continuously purified and caressed by the ceaseless fire of the God-Heart.
Image: The Trinity by Andrei Rublev. Tretyakov Gallery Date: 1411 / 1425 / between 1408 and 1427