St Ignatius famously said "Go forth and set the world on fire," a allusion to Luke 12:49 where Jesus says, "I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing." Peter Knott SJ asks whether this hasn't been misunderstood. Sending fire and talking of division can be used as an excuse for our own indignation. Instead, the fire that Jesus talks about, he says, is that of Pentecost - the fire of charity, joy, peace, goodness, understanding, and forgiveness.
Enjoying the experience of directing a long retreat, 30-days of silence, following the Spiritual Exercises, in North Wales. I am with 6 other ‘youngish’ Jesuits of my generation, accompanying people through the 4 weeks.
We may say that the gospels, especially Mark, are aware of a great variety of forms of participation in Jesus’ cause. There were the Twelve. There was a broader circle of disciples. There were those who participated in Jesus’ life. There were localized, resident adherents who made their houses available. There were people who helped in particular situations, if only by offering a cup of water. But we must be careful in how we understand this. It does not mean that there are tiers within discipleship, where some are called to a higher holiness and others to a lower one, as if the full gospel applies only to some. When we realize that we are all walking with Christ, albeit at different speeds and occasionally wandering off the path, could it be that we already have enough unity to form one Church - not perfect, but fit for purpose.
It’s that time of year. Distant voices call for your attention. Recently it was Glastonbury, but my tent stayed in the cupboard and I stayed home. Last weekend it was Scotland’s own T in the park, and the adventurous crowds are heading off to Kinross.
Pope Francis has brought a breath of fresh air into the Church. There had been a disturbing trend for the embrace of our churches to become less inclusive. We seemed to be requiring a purity and exclusivity not demanded by Jesus in the Gospels.