What Fire Do You Feed?

by | May 31, 2023 | Formation, Reflections

Feeding a fire! Who, me? Yes! … And me!

What fire? I am not talking about forest fires, as damaging as they can be. I am talking about the fires of violence today. Violence fed by fear. Violence witnessed but not felt. Violence happening to someone else, someplace else.

Neither you nor I can escape the fact that our world today is being consumed by the fire of violence.

Yet there is also a fire that very much needs fanning into flame… the fire of love!

We each need to ask … which fire am I feeding?

A story of two wolves

A grandfather gathered his grandchildren. He told them a story of a fight between two wolves.

One wolf represented anger, jealousy, resentment, frustration, anxiousness, negativity, hatred, insecurity, lack of self-belief and self-loathing.

The other wolf represented the opposite. He stood for love, honesty, fulfillment, compassion, joy, peace, integrity, abundance, and laughter.

The wise grandfather described a fight between the two wolves.

He then cautioned his grandchildren that the fight was not going on only between the wolves. “The fight”, he told them, “is going on inside each and every one of us.”

 “Grandfather, which wolf won the fight?”

His direct answer… “The one that you feed the most!”

He explained, “Every day, we choose which wolf we feed. It’s about the thoughts we nurture, the actions we take, and the intentions we hold in our hearts.”

“When we choose kindness over anger, forgiveness over resentment, and love over hatred, we are feeding the positive wolf within us. But if we allow negative emotions and actions to consume us, we are feeding the negative wolf.”

A Parable for Pentecost

This tale of two wolves is a parable for Pentecost.

The pages of scripture tell the story of God calling us to recognize we are, each of us, sons and daughters, sisters and brothers.

But this story ran counter to our instinct to see ourselves as the center of the universe. So, in the fullness of time, Jesus took flesh to show us what God’s love looked like in our daily life. He lived his prayer, “Our Father!” Everything he said and did showed show there are no limits to God’s love for us. And he calls us to imitate him.

The flame of violence

Today, still, we see an eruption of the flames of violence. There are so many flames of violence – structural and personal. And it is not only the violence we see on TV. We must also confront the violence in our own hearts.

If we think we are not violent, think again!

Many of us sit back, acting as armchair quarterbacks, passing judgment on what we see from a distance. We make judgments. But… we don’t react to wrongs we see with much sadness , let alone action.

The flame of the spirit of God

We all know the story of the first Pentecost. (Acts 2:1-4). “tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, and the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.”

These flames transformed ordinary peoplefrightened, confused, and insecure people, to boldly proclaim, and live, the Good News, especially with those on the margins… even at the cost of their lives.

That outpouring was in an instant! Transformation of our lives is a process!

Will we fan into the flame of the tongues of fire that the Holy Spirit pours out on us?

The question for us today…

Do we recognize that the gift of God’s Spirit is not a one-time event but a process of making choices?

Originally posted on Vincentian Mindwalk