Finally Reading Shirt of Flame

I have been reading Heather King's latest book entitled Shirt of Flame this weekend.  I've felt it finally calling me and found myself hungrily absorbing all the words.  I somehow hit a low spot after a busy week and found myself asking those questions again that led me to wondering what am I really supposed to do in this life?  

The awful feeling of being locked in on a circumstance that is beyond my control puts me in a situation greatly in need of contemplation.  So I find myself wading in her words that allow me to feel what I'm feeling and learn how to be comfortable with the tensions that normally come with growing up. 

Here are a few of my favorites so far.

...Yes, I'm deeply grateful to be sober and to have been supported by a job as a lawyer for a time, but it's not for me.  I can't and won't do such work anymore, and if I have to be thought of as a quitter, disappoint my parents, bewilder my [now ex-] husband, and possibly become a bag lady, so be it--because I must write.
...If love gives us the courage to subvert all power systems, in other words, then love is also the vehicle that enables us to discern in any given situation when restraint is called for and when boldness.
...The point is that littleness in no way precludes fighting for our vocations, our callings, or the desires of our hearts.  Littleness doesn't mean never getting what we want.  Littleness arises from the conviction that we're supported, cherished, guided.  Littleness gives rise to formidable resolve.
...Chastity includes courtesy, patience, and the refusal to force.  Chastity means respecting the inner timetables, desires, weaknesses and needs of both ourselves and other.
...As spiritual writer Ron Rolheiser puts it: 'For Therese, chastity meant two, interpenetrating things: reverence and the capacity and willingness to carry unresolved tension.
...We're called to be faithful to our vocations, even if nobody else seems remotely interested in our work, thoughts, sacrifices, lives.  It's difficult to feel marginalized and unrecognized, but what's really hard as you're feeling unrecognized is to recognize and support someone else.  It's difficult to minister to the poor, the hungry, the drug-, alcohol-, and sex-addicted, but what's really transformative is to get sober yourself.
Heather King has written for me a pathway to understanding the tensions that come with wanting a more authentic journey in the faith.  Wanting a more meaningful and purposeful life.  Wanting an honest to goodness, no sugarcoating, no escaping reality perspective of what it means to carry the cross at the same time lifting the heart to touch the hope that does not disappoint.  

Reading the book (although I haven't completely finished it yet) has given me the strength to keep on again.  To get up and walk the road of the saints and the foolish.   
St. Rita of Cascia, pray for us.
(I watched the movie yesterday and felt really drawn to her story once again)


  1. Thanks for sharing these quotes, Kathy! Now, I feel hungry to get a copy for myself.

    I found it very interesting that you ended your post with an image of St. Rita of Cascia--I have felt drawn to seek her intercession over the past several days, and even made a special trip to the local Catholic store to purchase a medal with her name and image. :) Perhaps there is something to my recent interest in re-discovering this holy woman....

  2. Have you watched her movie? It was produced by the Paulines Communications Network. Really moving story. Her heart is so big.

  3. No, I haven't, but I'm going to see if I can find a copy! :)

  4. I watched it yesterday. It's almost 3 hours long. I bawled throughout the whole thing. How beautiful her story and her witnessing of the DivineLove.

  5. I had no idea that she was an Augustinian nun until I walked into the church at Villanova during my first campus visit nearly three years ago and saw a stained glass image of her next to a similar image of St. Monica. My aunt had given me a prayer book and a medal of St. Rita several months earlier. Consequently, I felt that she had "something to do with" my ending up at (the Augustinian-affiliated) Villanova. :) I had a chance to visit a shrine dedicated to her in Philadelphia. A very holy, inspiring woman!

  6. I had no idea either. I actually thought of you when I watched the movie. :) May she pray for us. :)


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