Go Forth and Set the World on Fire
When I was going through RCIA, I spent a lot of time looking into saints trying to find one that I could identify with. When I stumbled upon St. Ignatius of Loyola, we instantly bonded. Almost a decade later, and he still continues to influence me.
St. Ignatius is quoted as saying:
“Go forth and set the world on fire.” -St. Ignatius of Loyola
I know immediately, cynics will say that he may or may not have actually said that. There is some circumstancial evidence, though, that says it was a popular saying among early Jesuits and may have been started by him. Read more here.
Were the early Jesuits pyromaniacs? Were they actually burning down homes and villages? Of course not – I’m only being silly. What was their goal, then?
St. Ignatius wanted them to go out and spread the fire of the Holy Spirit with everyone they could. He wanted them to help people to connect with God on a deeper, more spiritual level. He wanted them to teach the people how to go beyond Sunday and live out their faith daily.
That is my goal with you. First, if you are not quite there yet, I want to help you develop your faith beyond Sunday and live it daily. Then, I hope that you can share that with others so they can do the same. That is how we “rebuild” the Church – with every thought and action, one step at a time.
People are not as impressed with our deep theological knowledge and theories as we might think. We may even bore them in conversation. They won’t be moved to faith by being lectured. Instead, the example of our lives is what truly inspires people to learn more. How we love God, ourselves, and one another is what really stands out.
One of my favorite quotes of all time (I first heard in a DC Talk song), comes from Brennan Manning (a Franciscan priest who went through a pretty tumultuous life):
“The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians: who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, walk out the door, and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.” – Brennan Manning
I’ll probably write more on that quote at another time, but the truth to that statement is very self-evident. What more needs to be said?
Are you going out into the world to set it on fire with the Holy Spirit – sharing the Good News through both your words and your actions? Or are you living a life that does just the opposite?
If you’re struggling with that, don’t worry. We all do! And before we focus on how we impact others, let’s make sure that our own faith is in good shape. Stick around for more, and we’ll see if we can figure that out together.