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Wednesday, August 2, 2000

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St. Eusebius of Vercelli
St. Peter Julian Eymard

Jeremiah 15:10, 16-21
Psalm 59
Matthew 13:44-46

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how to burn-out

"Woe to me, mother, that you gave me birth! A man of strife and contention to all the land! I neither borrow nor lend, yet all curse me." —Jeremiah 15:10

Jeremiah wished he had never been born. He sat alone while others were partying (Jer 15:17). His pain was "continuous" and his "wound incurable" (Jer 15:18). According to the terminology of "pop-psychology," Jeremiah was experiencing "burn-out" in his prophetic ministry.

In contrast to "pop-psychology," the Lord in the Scriptures means something very different by the term "burn-out." "Burn-out" is a good thing. In fact, it is the meaning of life, "for our God is a consuming Fire," Who wants to totally consume us in His love (Heb 12:29). Thus, Jesus came "to light a fire on the earth" (Lk 12:49). By the fire of His word (see Jer 23:29; 20:9), He will burn away the impurities of our hearts (see Lk 24:32) to make us unblemished offerings to be consumed by His love.

We have no choice but to be "burned out," but we can choose whether to be "burned out" in selfishness and self-destruction or to be "burned out" in total self-giving and everlasting love.

"Burn-out" in the bad sense is not caused by total commitment to Jesus but by anything less than total commitment. Sell all that you have (Mt 13:44, 46) and follow Jesus (Mt 19:21). "Burn out" for love of Him so you don't "burn-out."

Prayer:  Father, fire-try my faith (1 Pt 1:7). May I not be so reluctant to "burn-out" that I never catch fire.

Promise:  "When I found Your words, I devoured them; they became my joy and the happiness of my heart." —Jer 15:16

Praise:  St. Eusebius insisted that secular force should not influence ecclesiastical decisions.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Edward J. Gratsch, March 8, 2000

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, March 9, 2000