I hold in my hand a ball of flame so hot and fiery, so vast and powerful, that it is rightly to be marvelled at. It is all your troubles, my beloved, called into flame. For just as a candle melts away as it burns, matter will always be transformed into different energy.
In the same way, all your sorrows and tears will become light for the world. Inside the white-hot sphere, at the centre of this new sun, swirls the rainbow that makes up the spectrum of your sufferings, and the hues hewn from hurt become a dance of joy, colliding colours in a kaleidoscope of changing shapes and patterns the universe has always known.
You read the desert father’s advice, “Why not become flame?” and you heeded it. Rest your weariness here in the palm of my hand, and grow with my powerful love even as you are rightly consumed.
The ego clenches itself around all it holds dear, like a fist. It coils around its own centre, rattling its tail and spreading its deadly hood. The fangs are at the ready and poised to strike. But also held curled inside that fist is a wave of love, and the fingers only need to let down their defences for a moment, the tightness to hesitate for a second, and love may prise open the prison and rush out in a tide of compassion for others that releases both the inner and outer worlds.
The brass trumpet calls like an alpine horn, long and low across the meadow. The flowers would answer if they could but only the goats lift their heads and shake them, as if blaming their fanciful imaginations for the sound. They have no idea they are being summoned by love to a real feast, as they eat anything and everything they can find, thinking hats are lunch, and washing lines, vines with delicious hanging fruit. “How foolish!” We cry, and then realise we too may be missing the true banquet.
The trembling gives you away, so that we know you are cold and frightened, full of dread and longing for the warmth of an open fire, or open arms. Let the tender heart of God then enfold you and still those shakes. Let grace wrap around you like a home woven blanket, and sit you on her lap with a warm cup of cocoa, telling you the story of how you began as a seed of starlight, and were lullabied across a universe of love to become yourself.
The central bud of the rose is strong for its many layers, a spear-like nub. Like the heart, to grow it must open. It will learn the hard way, that the more it does so, the more delicate it will become. Beauty and love do not stay crouched and bunched like a fist, but have learnt to unfold, and to make themselves vulnerable.
Change is always humming in the air and thrumming in the ground. If you listen long and low you might hear it through your feet, or feel it in your heart. The beat of the universe, a cosmic drum, the constant of all things. Seconds, seasons, aeons, none the same, all is dancing, sometimes swung around one turn in a year, holding hands with the sun, sometimes a thousand steps in a minute, tapping with the feet of bees who know where the sweetest nectar lies. But always and ever ready to move.
Flames of love lick at the drabness and drear, at the dross of life and transform them by consuming them with fire. Beauty arises from the ashes, just as a smile lights up and transforms a wrinkled, weary face. Bow to the beauty and the sacredness of all things. This is transfiguration, shining light into the darkness not to illuminate it, but to redeem it.
Pearls of knowledge and wisdom are more often to be found amongst pigs’ husks than locked in ivory towers in safe deposit boxes. For the world barely knows real treasure when it sees it, and so much lies undiscovered, waiting and excited to be lifted into the air with cries of Eureka and Alleluia!
There are treasures hidden throughout the earth. The treasure hunters find the pearl and think that is it. But each pearl is part of a string of glories and everything is connected, a mycelium of jewels and precious stones all clamouring to be discovered, their songs rising up through loam and clay longing to reach your hearing and tell you the secrets of a whole universe of love and the glory of God’s name. This is what lies beneath the mulch, and why humankind were made to be tillers of soil and caretakers of the earth.
Each head is tuned slightly apart, and God’s heart knows each frequency and speaks to it in its own language of love, not an impersonal broadcast to all four winds, but a soft Gaelic whisper in your inner ear, a sweeping sweet vision across your inner sight, for those who have attuned themselves, being drawn in by love.