What keeps us from seeking our soul’s deepest desire? Most often it is the ego and its fear of annihilation. Few of us have the courage to pray as St. Francis did—“Who are you, O God? And who am I?”—because we don’t really want to know the answer. While our souls long for intimate unions with God, unions in which we can no longer distinguish our deepest selves from the Divine, our ego selves understand the price of these unions: the loss of our hard-fought external identities. We’ve spent our entire lives crafting an identity to present to the world, and our egos are terrified at the prospect of that identity being consumed in the flame of God’s great love. For if we follow our soul’s desire, we will be left standing defenseless and out of control, which is precisely where we need to be to experience the sheer delight and the richness of God’s consuming love for us. The Good News for our souls is that the fire of God’s love is relentless and will eventually break through our well-formed heat shields. When that happens, we too will become a fire of consuming love that draws in everyone around us.
Loving and irresistible God, you draw me into your flame of love, and yet I resist. I pray for the courage to surrender my whole self to you, as St. Francis did, so that, like Francis, I might experience the joy of a life without control, a life that brings the unexpected delights of sweet surrender. Loving God, help me to stop counting the costs and to overcome my fear of loss, so that through your consuming love I may find my true self, transformed by love, ready to share that experience of pure joy through loving service to the world around me.
—from the book Eucharistic Adoration: Reflections in the Franciscan Tradition
by Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration