Word of the Month

The fire of the gospel

November 2006

Jesus Christ kindled the “fire of the gospel” and commissioned His Apostles to carry this fire into the entire world. It is for this reason that the “fire of the gospel” is again today – and still – burning around the world. Wherever we come into contact with this fire, we feel how it warms our hearts. It gives light that radiates into our surroundings.

It is our heavenly Father’s will that the “fire of the gospel” should not only be spread around the world, but also into the realms of the beyond. The mere fact that the “fire of the gospel” burns within us already entails that we can be of help in this respect. After all, if we touch the souls in the beyond with warm hearts – that is if we are burning spiritually – this flame will spread to their realms and ignite many souls there with the “fire of the gospel”. Then they will accept the invitation to come to the altar and receive the sacraments.

This fire of the gospel that burns within us has various manifestations. Let us take an example from the time of Jesus, specifically the captain of Capernaum. The “fire of the gospel” certainly burned within him. He approached Jesus, told Him of His paralysed servant, and said: “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed” (cf. Matthew 8: 5-8). Let us examine ourselves to see whether such a “fire of faith” is blazing within us.

The “fire of love” burned in the Lord Jesus. It was His deepest wish to help all mankind because He loved them. If the divine fire burns within our hearts, it will leap over into the realms of the beyond and light the way for many souls to come to the altar and gain their freedom.

The “fire of love” is closely associated with another fire, the “fire of compassion”. This comes to expression in the account of the Good Samaritan. A man had fallen among thieves. He was wounded and helpless, and had little hope that anyone would help him. A Priest came along, saw the helpless man, but passed him by without doing anything. Then along came a Levite, who conducted himself in much the same way. But when the Samaritan came along, the Bible says: “And when he saw him” – the helpless, wounded man – “he had compassion.” The Samaritan was filled with compassion, offered the man his help, and did everything necessary to ensure that the ravaged man could be healed (cf. Luke 10: 30-36). If this “fire of compassion” burns within us, then we will pray for those who are helpless in the beyond.

One other important element is the “fire of hope”. We wait for the day of the Lord. This fire must not be extinguished within us. If it burns within us, it will spread, touch others, and have a wonderful effect – many will then hope and wait for the return of the Lord.

Let me mention one last point, namely the “fire of joy and enthusiasm”. To be a child of God is a marvellous thing. It is the greatest thing that could ever happen to us today! This is like a fire of joy. When we feel that the Lord is near us, when we can gather in the divine services to hear God’s word – that is joy. We are together at the altar, where we do not hear man’s word, but rather the voice of our heavenly Father. What joy! May this fire burn within us, so that we may be an example to the souls in the beyond! And then this fire can also burn in their souls.

Thus let us always examine ourselves to see whether the “fire of the gospel” is burning within us.

(From a divine service by the Chief Apostle)