The Fire that burns us changes us

Hey, hey, Happy Pentecost Day!

Dear Holy Spirit, the fire and flame of God that unites us, bless us with unity. Compel us to dialogue and compassion. Excite us about diversity and give us the graces we need to greatly love one another; all Christians, all Catholics. Help us, Holy Fire of God, to build your reign here on earth! Amen!

Good News: I get to make my first vows as a Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration this summer! Yay! I am so excited to more deeply commit to God and the Franciscan family. And, yes, I am excited to commit to our in-transition, chaotic, divided, tense, messed-up, lovely, human, growing, moving Catholic Church. It is such an exciting time to join a religious community, a time when it feels like we’re going somewhere together, big changes are happening, and there’s confusion and tension. Certainly there’s fear in the transition, but there’s also a great deal of hope, energy and excitement. All the mixing energy is evidence to me that the Holy Spirit is up to something. And since it is the Holy Spirit, we know it’s ALL GOOD.

Funny Story: The other day I was listening to Bible Radio (sponsored locally by a Bible-centered Protestant Bible college) on my way to work. They were having a call in show about homosexuality. They caught my attention because I heard them say something like “as Christians, we can learn from the homosexuals who are so effective at infiltrating the public schools and teaching their agendas.” Initially I was really angry, and then I started laughing and thinking about how I could participate and challenge. So, I kept listening until they announced the phone number and called in. I was planning to play dumb and ask questions like how it is that the bible used to make slavery look okay but now that has changed while one little line from the Old Testament that barely eludes that homosexuality is wrong still stands. And I was going to say something like “I just don’t get it. Jesus told us to be loving and non-judgmental. So does that apply to everyone but homosexuals?” By the time my call was finally answered the phone dude said “Congratulations! Have you ever won anything from our radio before?” I laughed and said no and gave him my contact info so that they could send me my prize book about Jesus and the Pentecost. Then I asked if the conversation on homosexuality was finished and they said it was.

In a way, I sort of wish the conversation on homosexuality was really over, because as a Church we had arrived at a place of great grace, compassion and love and there was no need for judgment, cruelty and division. But we’re in transition, as a Christian community of fiery believers. And is the case with so much transition, the Mystery causes dreaming, fear, anger, hope, chaos, tension, vision and change. We’re in the midst of it, and we must burn with love.

Like after a forest-fire, the newness that emerges after the burning is so often a blend of many bright beautiful colors. May God bless, and all the colors that we are, no matter where we are going.

Originally from Northeast Iowa, Sister Julia is a novice with the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, based in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Her love for God and God’s good world is manifested in her attempts to be an educator, a youth empower-er, an earth lover, and a peacemaker. She works at an inner-city Catholic high school in Chicago.

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About Julia Walsh

Originally from Northeast Iowa, Sister Julia is a Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration, based in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Her love for God and God's good world is manifested in her attempts to be an educator, a youth empower-er, an earth lover, and a peacemaker. She ministers at a Franciscan retreat center in Wisconsin.

2 thoughts on “The Fire that burns us changes us

  1. Well, congratulations on winning with your call-in! It’s too bad that you weren’t able to contribute your thoughts to the discussion, though, although I admire you so much for following through with your intention to do so. Too often, I just sit there and seethe rather than get up and do something about it. Thank you for your inclusive vision of love, Christianity, and Church.

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