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Where is the Passion and Fire?

April 15, AD2017 10 Comments

During this Holy week, as we enter more fully into the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, it is a good time to ask ourselves some deep and profound questions around Passion and Fire.

Where are the passion and fire? Where is the passion and fire within the Church? Where is the passion and fire within me?

Jesus said in Luke 12:49: “I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!”

Hebrews 12:29 “…for our “God is a consuming fire.”

Based on these scripture passages, it seems clear that Jesus desires for us to be a people passionately on fire for Him.


The Catechism of the Catholic Church says this about fire:

CCC 696Fire. While water signifies birth and the fruitfulness of life given in the Holy Spirit, fire symbolizes the transforming energy of the Holy Spirit’s actions…. the fire of the Holy Spirit…transforms what he touches…. Christ…” will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” Jesus will say of the Spirit: “I came to cast fire upon the earth; and would that it were already kindled!” In the form of tongues “as of fire,” the Holy Spirit rests on the disciples on the morning of Pentecost and fills them with himself. The spiritual tradition has retained this symbolism of fire as one of the most expressive images of the Holy Spirit’s actions. “Do not quench the Spirit.”

It is clear, based on scripture and the teachings of the Church, that God desires for His Church to be passionately on Fire for Him.

Are We a Church on Fire?

I will leave that as a rhetorical question.

According to the Catechism, we are the Church:

CCC 751: “…Ekklesia is used frequently in the Greek Old Testament for the assembly of the Chosen People before God… By calling itself “Church,” the first community of Christian believers recognized itself as heir to that assembly…”

As the Church, Jesus invites us to examine the level of passion and fire within ourselves.

 Examine Yourself:

“Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?”                                2 Corinthians 13:5

I would like to say that I am passionately on Fire for God, and in many ways, there is fruit to verify that I am. Yet, as I examine myself in light of scripture, evaluating the fiery fruit of the great men and women of God who’ve gone before us, I see that I am not as passionately on Fire for God as He would like me to be.

Following Pentecost, the disciples were full of the Holy Spirit and as a result witnessed God do amazing things among them on a daily basis:

Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number. As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by impure spirits, and all of them were healed.” Acts 6:14-16

“Peter’s Shadow”?

I am not a theologian, nor did I stay at the “Holiday Inn” (sorry, old commercial), so I won’t pretend to know all the facts relating to Peter’s Shadow. But, for me, it is pretty simple: the Holy Spirit was present and people encountered the Fire of the Holy Spirit and they were healed.

As the Catechism states in CCC #696,

“…fire symbolizes the transforming energy of the Holy Spirit’s actions…. the fire of the Holy Spirit…transforms what he touches….”.

As people encounter the Fire of the Holy Spirit they are transformed.

What About Us Today?

Is the shadow of the Holy Spirit exuding from you and I as it was Peter?

Perhaps you might say, ‘I am not Peter and I am not Jesus. I am just an ordinary Catholic/Christian trying to do my best. I can’t do what Jesus did.’

That certainly sounds humble and it resonates within our logical minds… Until we read these words from Jesus:

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.”            John 14:12

These words from Jesus mess with our logical mindsets. Think about it: What did Jesus do? He healed the sick, raised the dead, cast out demons, fed the multitudes off of a kid’s small lunch, calmed a massive storm… the blind saw, the deaf heard, the lame walked and demons fled….

Jesus dares to say to us that we too can do the things that He did. Come on! How are we to do that?

According to Scripture and the teachings of the Church, we are called to be passionately on fire for God and to spread His fire throughout the earth. The very Fire of the Holy Spirit is to exude from us and touch and transform everything He encounters.

This is the day that we, as the Church, can live into the fullness of all that Jesus and the Church teach – full of passion and Fire.

Wouldn’t it be awesome if the whole Church, on this Easter Sunday, were to enter into the fullness of the resurrection life of Christ to encounter the Fire and Passion of the Holy Spirit?

Romans 8:10-12But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.

Simple Prayer for Passion and Fire:

CCC 671 “…the simplest and most direct prayer is also traditional, “Come, Holy Spirit,” and every liturgical tradition has developed it in antiphons and hymns. Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle in them the fire of your love….”

Lord Jesus, please bring forth your Holy Spirit Fire and Passion within me, us, our families, the Church, the world!

And may we, your Church, be a people who are passionately on Fire for you!

Luke 12:49: “I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!”

Photography: See our Photographers page.

About the Author:

“Bart is one of the most passionate men for God that I know…. His heart is for the Church to live into the fullness of who She’s called to be.”
Bart has been involved in ministry for over 28 years and has vast experience across the Body of Christ. Following a desperate plea while in an NFL Locker room, over 29 years ago, Bart encountered the Father’s love. His passion has remained the same since – to love and please God in all that he does.
Bart is an instrumental member of the John Paul II Healing Center. He is a regular speaker at conferences and retreats, and has a deep passion to see people encounter the Father’s love.
Bart has been married for over 20 years. He and his wife, Brooke, have four children: Hannah, Gabrielle. Kailey and Joshua.

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  • Eddie

    Excellent. This was a confirmation for me. It sounded as if I had written your essay. I am so disappointed with our beautiful Church’s failure (at least in the Trenton Diocese) to recognize the Pentecostal gifts Every Baptized person, especially Catholics with the Sacraments, sacramentals and saints have. Sadly my observation is that the blame so to speak rest squarely on the shoulders of the clergy. The pastor in my church gave a homily just this past Friday proclaiming these great biblical miracles don’t occur anymore, we should be satisfied with less audacious miracles. This is the problem. In Africa, in Catholic parishes there are believers who are raising the dead? I have witnessed physical healing at Charismatic masses by Father Suarez. You are correct. Jesus said we can do it and He doesn’t lie. The faithful need to take the lead now and perhaps as the Lord uses us we can help set the clergy and the whole Church Militant on fire. I have been discouraged lately by the lethargy at the altar. I am awaiting the great movement of the Holy Spirit this Pentecost. I am preparing for my renewal. Thank you for your essay, it really encouraged me. It is so good to know that there are other Catholics out there who are taking Jesus’ exhortations seriously. I use the gifts of the Holy Spirit to pray over, with and lay hands on those who are ill. I have seen His power. Before I read your article I was actually explaining to my wife about the very power of St. Peter’s shadow. This is why I believe your essay was a direct confirmation for me in my mission as Church Militant. God has given us gifts. We are His soldiers. We must boldly, with love and respect follow His command to heal the sick, raise the dead and preach the Gospel. We are His hands, His voice, His instruments. We need tools. My parish was very Charismatic and we were encouraged to pray over one another using blessed olive oil. That weapon was taken away from us with the ridiculous excuse that people were confusing it with extreme unction and sacramental forgiveness of sins. Nonsense! But we must be obedient and use the other weapons we have at our disposal. Intercessory prayer, the Rosary, laying on of hands, Scripture readings all in conjunction with the Sacraments. God bless you. God bless our Church and have a blessed Easter Season.

  • Bart Schuchts

    Thanks for the discussion guys. I enjoy reading each of your comments. Great insights and perspectives

  • Mark McCann

    I hear so many talk about revival and being on fire, and it always seems to focus on “winning souls” for Christ. That is good, but I wonder if we miss the ideas you present here. I think our whole lives should be a holy fire for Jesus. Our everyday joys and struggles should be part of what it means to burn with love for the One who loved us to the cross. If we all had that fire, just think of what this would would be! Happy Resurrection Sunday! Great article! Thank you so much!

    • Larry Bud

      You know, I still go to mass on Sundays and holy days, when I’m pretty sure that everyone else in my generation stopped doing so back in the 1980’s. I generally follow the Church’s moral rules. I support the local Catholic schools. All that makes me a pretty rare bird nowadays. So it really annoys me to read articles and responses like this, about the need to be “on fire”. When “on fire” folks come into a parish and start to affect what’s being done, I pick up and move on.

      And what’s this “Resurrection Sunday” stuff? It’s Easter. I think you know that.

    • Mark McCann

      Resurrection Sunday is what the actual day is (Easter… The Resurrection of the Lord). Sorry if it sounded too Protestant for you and sorry if my comment bothered you. I was making the point that living out ones Catholic faith with love and steadfast devotion (the kinds of thing you described) IS being on fire. But in any case, Peace…

    • Larry Bud

      No, it didn’t sound “Protestant”. It just seemed like making up a new term for no good reason.

    • Bart Schuchts

      Larry, I want to thank you for your faithfulness to the Church throughout the years. We need more “rare birds” like yourself (using your term). Your faithfulness is part of the Fire.

    • Bart Schuchts

      Thanks Mark. Well said

  • johnnysc

    St. Augustine says…..To the degree that someone loves Christ’s Church,
    to that degree he has the Holy Spirit.

    That to me how best describes it. Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church are One and the Same. The Sacraments He instituted for us (I will be with you always) and His teachings (doctrine…..if you love me you will obey my commandments). Unfortunately we are told to not put forth that Truth so as not to offend protestants thereby dampening the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Even worse some of the timeless teachings of Christ are being confused within the Church.

    • Bart Schuchts

      Thanks Johnny. I like this quote from St Augustine. Thanks for sharing it with us