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Wednesday, June 9, 2004

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St. Ephrem

1 Kings 18:20-39
Psalm 16
Matthew 5:17-19

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light my fire

"Elijah appealed to all the people and said, 'How long will you straddle the issue? If the Lord is God, follow Him; if Baal, follow him.' " —1 Kings 18:21

The chosen people of Elijah's time straddled the issue of total commitment to the Lord. By calling down fire from heaven (see 1 Kgs 18:24ff), Elijah tried to move the people from lukewarmness to a zealous, total commitment to the Lord. Unfortunately, although Elijah was successful in bringing down fire from heaven, he was unsuccessful in putting fire into the hearts of God's people.

The Lord is sick of and nauseated by lukewarmness (see Rv 3:16). In total love, He died on the cross for each of us. He rightly expects us to accept the grace to love Him with all our hearts, all our souls, all our minds, and all our strength (Lk 10:27). He commands us "to stir into flame" the fire of the Holy Spirit within us (2 Tm 1:6), Whom we received in Baptism and Confirmation. "Our God is a consuming Fire" (Heb 12:29), and He lives within us (Jn 17:23). So let the fire of His presence, power, and love burn in us forever (see Lk 12:49). Let the fire of Pentecost blaze in us and from us to "renew the face of the earth" (Ps 104:30).

Prayer:  Father, set our hearts on fire as Jesus interprets for us the Scriptures (Lk 24:32).

Promise:  "Of this much I assure you: until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter of the law, not the smallest part of a letter, shall be done away with until it all comes true." —Mt 5:18

Praise:  Living in a cave by choice, St. Ephrem was so wholehearted for God that he was eventually declared a Doctor of the Church.

Reference:  (You may wish to order our tapes on the Bible Teachers Series. Our six-tape series starts with AV 117-1. Our three-part video series starts with V-117.)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert A. Stricker, December 13, 2003

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 18, 2003