Warmth in the Midst of Cold
In one of my brief conversations about the book I was told that it was going to be a serious book about a serious subject and the reality is that it is that but also a book of hope and hopefulness.
Fire from Ashes has a subtitle which well describes the theme of the five reflections and overall theme of the book....The Reality of Perpetual Conversion. In the introduction the autors have set forth the theme of this book. The autors write:
Reality is the first step toward salvation.
It is also the second step, the third, the fourth, and the last.
There is reality we don't want to face.
There is reality we can avoid for a season.
There is reality we are forced to tackle.
Reality is ultimately unavoidable.
After sharing the ashes they begin to let us know that there is fire still there in the midst of these ashes. The authors write "Do not despair, these sentences need not be understood to mean we are stuck with hard times, denial or sinful patterns of life. The reality is that all reality is not bad."
In each of the five reflections we are faced with the reality of our sinfulness but at the same time we read of the reality of our conversion. We are faced with the ashes that are our lives but also we are shown that even in the coldest dead fire there are still embers of hope that can be quickly enflamed through perpetual conversion.
Yes the book is not light reading but it is reading filled with much hope. Steve Robinson throughout the book provided us with many illustrations that bring light and hope to what is being written about especially some of the quotations from the spiritual fathers past and present. We also have hints even in this "dark book" of the humor that we have come to expect from Father Joseph and Steve.
I would highly reccommend that you all pick up a copy and read it once but not just once but each and every time you start to feel the cold ashes of reality overwhelming you and in reading you will be reminded that if we bend low over the ashes and blow into them they will come back as fire to which we may add new wood to keep the fire of hope and joy burning brightly.