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Tuesday, October 1, 1996

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St. Theresa of the Child Jesus

Job 3:1-3, 11-17, 20-23
Psalm 88
Luke 9:51-56

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light my fire

"Lord, would You not have us call down fire from heaven to destroy them?" —Luke 9:54

James and John asked Jesus if they should pray for fire to come down from heaven to destroy an inhospitable Samaritan town. In this way, the two apostles were showing their faith in Jesus as the new Elijah (see Mal 3:23), for Elijah had repeatedly called down fire from heaven (see 2 Kgs 1:10, 12). Jesus rejected their proposal because His kingdom was a kingdom of mercy before justice (see Mt 18:23ff). He intended to convert His enemies, even the Samaritans (see Jn 4:39), rather than destroy them.

Elijah did even more than call down fire on his enemies. In the last words of the Old Testament, Malachi prophesied that God would send Elijah before "the great and terrible day," and Elijah would "turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers" (Mal 3:23, 24). Elijah's final ministry is one of reconciliation. Elijah's fire was not intended to destroy our enemies but reconcile us with them by burning away unforgiveness, bitterness, hatred, resentment, and anger.

Ask God to send down fire from heaven not for destruction but for reconciliation. Pray for the fire to fall not only on your enemies but also on you.

Prayer:  Lord, I call down fire on me first.

Promise:  "Let my prayer come before You; incline Your ear to my call for help." —Ps 88:3

Praise:  Theresa died at the young age of twenty-four; yet, in that short time, she became so close to God that she was canonized as a saint only twenty-eight years after her death. She was a zealous and dedicated intercessor, and especially devoted herself to pray for priests.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Ralph J. Lawrence, April 2, 1996

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 3, 1996