Thoughts on God as Fire

I was researching something (verifying that I accurately remembered that Seraphim are the highest choir of angels) when I found this attributed to Saint Thomas Aquinas regarding the nature of the name "Seraphim":

"The name "Seraphim" does not come from charity only, but from the excess of charity, expressed by the word ardor or fire. Hence Dionysius (Coel. Hier. vii) expounds the name "Seraphim" according to the properties of fire, containing an excess of heat. Now in fire we may consider three things.

"First, the movement which is upwards and continuous. This signifies that they are borne inflexibly towards God.

"Secondly, the active force which is "heat," which is not found in fire simply, but exists with a certain sharpness, as being of most penetrating action, and reaching even to the smallest things, and as it were, with superabundant fervor; whereby is signified the action of these angels, exercised powerfully upon those who are subject to them, rousing them to a like fervor, and cleansing them wholly by their heat.

"Thirdly we consider in fire the quality of clarity, or brightness; which signifies that these angels have in themselves an inextinguishable light, and that they also perfectly enlighten others."

Since the Seraphim would not be their own source of "Illuminating Fire," it's logical that this property is derived not just merely from God per se but due to their relative spiritual proximity to God. In other words, because they are the highest angels they exhibit more of the qualities of God: in this case the piercing, penetrating, brilliant, radiating fire.  This would correspond with an idea I've had that the Fire of God is everywhere in eternity and that it's the disposition of one's soul which determines whether this penetrating and illuminating fire is glorification or damnation. It sure gives a concreteness to the notion that the souls in hell damn themselves more than God sending them there of His volition.

It would also suggest that the ranks of hell are "geographically inverted" from the way we think of it: that the higher (less severe) levels of hell are mystically farther from God such that the intensity of God's Fire affects them less than those who are closer/at the deeper levels of hell... and that attaining certain Sacramental characters (Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Orders) puts a leash on damned souls, preventing them from fleeing further from the Divine Fire than souls lacking those characters.

Another consideration: the highest of angels, being closest to the source of the illuminating Divine Fire, in communicating this perfection to the other angels... was the Light Bearer (Lucifer). This would also explain why the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts are always pictured as being on fire, and it makes me wonder if martyrdom by fire is the most glorious way to exit this mortal coil.

Lots of food for contemplation here and it makes me wonder if this Truth is why every human being is inexplicably drawn to stare at a campfire... because at a certain level we know we're seeing a glimpse of the most fundamental Truth there is.


Men vs. Women -- FIGHT!

As if the differences God gave us -- and the craziness of our culture and times -- wasn't enough, cordial relations between young Catholic men and women have to suffer the onslaughts of idiots and mouth-breathing cretins from time to time as well.

This morning I saw the following post in my Facebook timeline:

"If girls that come from Traditional Catholic families were as great as they think they are, they'd all be married."

I don't envy the position of young traditional Catholic women today.  For the most part the prospects of those called to marriage suck. There are so few financially established young men who are looking to marry that they pretty much have their run of the field in selecting a potential wife. (Of course a guy in that position is established in more than his finances... he's more selfish and insistent on getting his way than he realizes but marriage will awaken him to this reality in short order.)

I will grant that some -- not all, but SOME -- young Catholic women, if they aren't married by 23, develop a bitter resentfulness that they were made to wait for their man to come along when they "should have been married and having babies" for the last five years. This is a very unattractive attitude and I know of one guy (who was closer to 30 than 25) who dated (and later married) a 19 year old girl "because she didn't have the 'why am I still single?' bitterness that the 25 year old women in the parish have."

That said, there are issues on both sides of this gender debate (because Original Sin, duh!) and any man who has the audacity to blame the women for his plight in not finding the perfect wife is an idiot and a jerk.  And if he has the audacity to say something like the quote above, either on Facebook or in real life, you women should be THANKFUL that he's unmasked himself as an unworthy loser... he just saved you the trouble of having to date/court him (or worse yet, marry him!) before learning his true colors (mostly yellow, but I digress).

If you're still reading this, dear boys and girls, and you get nothing else from this little article, memorize the following: if you do manage to find that elusive "perfect dream spouse" then don't forget that marriage is a vocation undertaken in the shadow of the Cross of Christ Crucified, and it's going to royally suck at times.  Marriage is a VOCATION and it is how worldly idiots like us are purged of our attachments, vanities, and selfishness and converted into Saints.  Make no mistake: even the best marriages are like purgatory on earth at times: seize those opportunities to get your purgatory done now rather than later... and another secret if you're inclined to listen: if you can handle those times with good humor and a smile while helping your spouse during those hard times then your spouse will think all the more highly of you and do their utmost to be their best for you (it's something called a win-win: look it up).

The only other advice I would give dating/courting couples (aside from "courtship is overrated") is to find someone who laughs and can make you laugh, because that will make the hard times so much easier to take.