On Fire for Her!

Not all fires can be put out with water. I learned that lesson the hard way. An oil fire in the stovetop skillet only get bigger when you throw water on it. This type of fire should be put out with flour instead. There is also the case of wildfires. It might seem contradictory, but wildfires can be put out by starting other fires. Let me explain.

A fire needs three things to thrive: heat, oxygen, and fuel. It is the last ingredient that helps firefighters fight wildfires. By starting another fire, they try to exhaust the “fuel” (dry grass, dead trees, underbrush, etc.) that could feed the out-of-control fire and thus put it out. This is where the saying, “you fight fire with fire”, comes from.

We can apply the same principle in marianizing our life. One of the essential aspects of living out our consecration to Mary is living for Mary. To live for her we must be zealous for her cause—on fire for her—knowing that “her” cause is Christ. We live for Mary to live for Jesus.

How to ensure you’re living for her.

The first way we live for her is by ensuring that we are not living for something else in her place. As one fire robs another of its fuel, so also our disordered love for other things rob us of our energy and capacity to love Jesus in Mary zealously.

People are generally tired in our modern age. This has its natural causes—lack of sleep, overwork, and mindless time-wasting—but also its supernatural causes. One of the main ones being attachments. St. John of the Cross explains this by using the example of children. Every mother and childcare-giver knows that kids can be exhausting in their demands. The Carmelite Doctor writes,

[Our desires] resemble little children, restless and hard to please, always whining to their mother for this thing or that, and never satisfied. Just as anyone who digs covetously for a treasure grows tired and exhausted, so does anyone who strives to satisfy the [desires’] demands become wearied and fatigued.[1]

If a disordered love for someone’s (or even anyone’s) attention, comfort, financial security, the latest technology, etc. enflames our heart then there’s little left to burn for the true and pure love for Jesus in Mary.

The second way we live for her is by concretely acting on such love. Like we’ve said earlier, fires need fuel. We feed our love for Mary by acting on her love. It’s a good thing to think about loving her and to read about loving her, but we only form the habit of loving her by acting on it.

Turning love into action starts with making a concrete commitment.

“Today I will show my love for Mary by teaching others about her…by organizing my time so as to be better disposed to imitate her by serving others or praying more…by going to Confession and receiving Holy Communion every Saturday in her honor…by entrusting the urgent need for world peace and for the end of war to her through prayer of the Rosary and penance as she taught us at Fatima.”

These are just a few examples of how acting on her love begins with a concrete and realistic commitment united to our daily life and the particular needs of our times. Then comes the follow-through.

St. Simon the Apostle is known in the Gospels as “the Zealot” (Lk 6:15) and “the Canaanite” (Mt 10:4; Mk 3:18). They are not too different nicknames, but one and the same.[2] Both speak to his zealous love for the Lord God. He was a man “on fire” for the Lord.

Let us be Zealots and Canaanites for Mary. Let us be zealous for her love by putting out the fires of disordered loves and acting on a concrete commitment that gives flesh to our desire to love her more.

Seize the day and make it all Hers!

[1] St. John of the Cross, Ascent to Mount Carmel, I, 6, 6.

[2] Benedict XVI, General Audience, “Simon and Jude”, 11 October 2008, https://www.vatican.va/content/benedict-xvi/en/audiences/2006/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20061011.html.