What fire have you jumped in to?
GLBT rights are the hottest fire I've been in.
I really like John Fischer
by John Fischer
Given that yesterday was All Saints Day and in honor of our Catholic friends I would like to say a word about my favorite patron saint. She is now known as St. Apollonia and you will see her in connection with dental services because of the way in which she was martyred, but I am getting ahead of myself. Here is the longer account taken from Butler's Lives of Patron Saints edited by Michael Walsh.
"Apollonia, Martyr, A.D. 249. St. Dionysius of Alexandria wrote to Fabius, Bishop of Antioch, an account of the persecution of the Christians by the heathen populace of Alexandria in the last year of the reign of the Emperor Philip. The first victim of their rage was a venerable old man named Metra or Metrius, whom they tried to compel to utter blasphemies against God. When he refused, they beat him, thrust splinters of reeds into his eyes, and stoned him to death. The next person they seized was a Christian woman, called Quinta, whom they carried to one of their temples to force her to worship the idol. She addressed their false god with words of scorn which so exasperated the people that they dragged her by the heels over the cobbles, scourged and then stoned her. By this time the rioters were at the height of their fury. The Christians offered no resistance but betook themselves to flight, abandoning their goods without complaint because their hearts had no ties upon the earth. Their constancy was so general that St. Dionysius knew of none who had renounced Christ.
"Apollonia, an aged deaconess, was seized. With blows in the face they knocked out all her teeth, and then, kindling a great fire outside their city, they threatened to cast her into it unless she uttered certain impious words. She begged for a moment's delay, as if to consider the proposal; then, to convince her persecutors that her sacrifice was perfectly voluntary, she no sooner found herself free than she leaped into the flames of her own accord."
I like this woman. I like her commitment, her passion and the way in which she got the upper hand even in her death. And on top of that, she was "aged."
I seem to think I would have made a good martyr. I long to have someone draw a very clear line in the sand, it's just the rest of my life, where the lines seem more wavy, that gives me trouble. However, I have a hunch that the line is clearer than I like to make it out to be, because of my struggle with what is asked of me. Jumping into the fire for my faith? Piece of cake. Jumping into the fire of my day-to-day responsibilities as a husband and a father? Well...
I've decided I'm going to think of the tasks before me that I do not want to face as Apollonia's fire. Then it does become a faith issue (it is anyway), and if granny can do it, I can too. Christ has freed me, to do what? Live for myself? No. He freed me so I could voluntarily jump into the fire for those I love.
So what are we waiting for? We've been set free... now jump!