Frederica Mathewes-Green on Burning

I came across this fantastic article via Liz Dyer about the Transfiguration and the fire-related implications of light in previous cultures, and just couldn’t pass up a bit of quoteage:

But there is something about light that most previous generations would have known, that doesn’t occur to us today. We think of light as something you get with the flip of a switch. But before a hundred years ago, light always meant fire. Whether it was the flame of a candle, an oil lamp, a campfire, or the blazing noonday sun, light was always accompanied by fire.

And fire, everyone knew, must be respected. That’s one of the lessons learned from earliest childhood. Fire is powerful and dangerous. It does not compromise. In any confrontation, it is the person who will be changed by fire, and not the other way round…

Through prayer, fasting, and honoring others above self, we gradually clear away everything in us that will not catch fire. We are made to catch fire. We are like lumps of coal, dusty and inert, and possess little to be proud of. But we have one talent: we can burn. You could say that it is our destiny to burn. He made us that way, because he intended for his blazing light to fill us.

I highly recommend reading the whole thing. It’s reasonably short, but packed with good stuff.


2 responses

  1. Hi Im from Australia.

    Please find some references on the Divine Conscious Light which have none of the “moral” self-righteousness of the paragraphs in your post.

    In Truth I would say that if the Divine Light were in any sense Real to anyone, any sense of “moral” self-righteousness would be completely vanished.






  2. Hi John! Wow, I’m getting visitors from Australia, how interesting…

    I’m curious as to what you think is self-righteous about this quote (or did you mean the blog in general)?

    And what exactly do you mean by the concept of ‘Divine Light’? (I know what I mean by it, but I’m interested as to which perspective you are coming from…)

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