Chapter 12. Lightning and Fire
The Burning Bush.Drawn by Rudolf Koch.
Courtesy of Arion Press.
Worldwide, lightning flashes about 30 to 100 times each second or about five million times per day. The accompanying sound of thunder roars. We might be scared by storms suddenly unleashing their energy with great light and sound. At the same time, we know that God's Power is beyond even the tremendous power in all the lightning bolts over the whole world because He, the Source of all, designed them.
In the book The Shroud of Turin—An Adventure of Discovery by Dr. and Mrs. Alan and Mary Whanger, we learn that recent scientific research indicates that a tremendous amount of energy at the Resurrection imaged Jesus and surrounding articles onto His burial Shroud. Dr. Bensen estimated that the electro-potential could have amounted to 100 million to as much as 200 million volts. Yet the energy release was focused and gentle, not destructive. Dr. Thaddeus Trenn called this a process of "weak dematerialization" whereby the subatomic particles overcame the strong nuclear bonds holding each atom together.
Warmth and light comfort us. Fireplaces and stoves warm homes in winter. Candles and electricity light the darkness. As the Chinese proverb and Christophers credo says, "It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness." Fires can purify, changing rocky ore into useful and precious metals. We ask God to send the "fire of love" of His Holy Spirit to purify our hearts, minds, and souls. We trust in God's Divine Mercy. We consecrate ourselves to the source of Light, Life, and Truth, the Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning. A thick cloud covered the mountain, a loud trumpet blast was heard, and everyone in camp trembled with fear.
Eleazar then explained, "If you need to purify something that won't burn, such as gold, silver, bronze, iron, tin, or lead, you must first place it in a hot fire. After you take it out, sprinkle it with the water that purifies. Everything else should only be sprinkled with the water. Do all of this, just as the LORD commanded Moses."
2 Samuel 22:13 (NIV)
Out of the brightness of his presence bolts of lightning blazed forth.
And when God sends lightning, it can be seen at the bottom of the sea.
... when I hear the roaring voice of God in the thunder, and when I see his lightning flash across the sky.
Can you explain why lightning flashes at the orders of God who knows all things? Or how he hangs the clouds in empty space?
Hailstones and fiery coals lit up the sky in front of you.
The voice of the LORD
makes lightning flash
Your thunder roared
like chariot wheels.
The world was made bright
and all the earth trembled.
... and his lightning is so bright
that the earth sees it
The LORD makes the clouds rise
from far across the earth,
and he makes lightning
to go with the rain.
Then from his secret place
he sends out the wind.
I saw a windstorm blowing in from the north. Lightning flashed from a huge cloud and lit up the whole sky with a dazzling brightness. The fiery center of the cloud was as shiny as polished metal ...
The creatures were glowing like hot coals, and I saw something like a flaming torch moving back and forth among them. Lightning flashed from the torch every time its flame blazed up. The creatures themselves moved as quickly as sparks jumping from a fire.
... and I saw something in the shape of a human. This figure was like fire from the waist down, and it was bright as polished metal from the waist up.
His body was like a precious stone, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming fires, his arms and legs like polished bronze, and his voice like the roar of a crowd.
Like a cloud, the LORD God will appear over his people, and his arrows will flash like lightning. God will sound his trumpet and attack in a whirlwind from the south.
The coming of the Son of Man will be like lightning that can be seen from east to west.
The angel looked as bright as lightning, and his clothes were white as snow.
Luke 9:29 (NIV)
As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning.
Luke 24:4 (NIV)
While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them.
Flashes of lightning and roars of thunder came out from the throne in the center of the circle. Seven torches, which are the seven spirits of God, were burning in front of the throne.
After this, the angel filled the incense container with fire from the altar and threw it on the earth. Thunder roared, lightning flashed, and the earth shook.
As fire refines gold, so suffering refines virtue.
When the cross blue lightning seemed to open
The breast of heaven, I did present myself
Even in the aim and very flash of it.
—William Shakespeare (1564–1616). Cassius, in Julius Caesar, act 1, sc. 3, l. 50–2.
The fire is the main comfort of the camp, whether in summer or winter, and is about as ample at one season as at another. It is as well for cheerfulness as for warmth and dryness.
—Henry David Thoreau. "Ktaadn" , in The Maine Woods , in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 3, p. 43, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
I saw the lightning’s gleaming rod
Reach forth and write upon the sky
The awful autograph of God.
—Joaquin (Cincinnatus Hiner) Miller (1839?–1913). The Ship in the Desert.
May sparks from the Holy Spirit "enkindle in us the fire of His Love." May the embers glow and warm our hearts and purify our souls. May our minds be enlightened with the knowledge of God's Love and the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. With the help and prayers of our Blessed Mother and all the saints and angels, may our good deeds warm the hearts and minds of others.
(C) 2002 by Anthony R. Brach.