Have you ever felt like you were completely alone in your passion to achieve something great and wondered, why on earth am I working so hard when it seems like I’m not getting very far and no one else really cares? Surely at times that’s what the athletes at the Olympics must feel…they sacrifice so much in their young lives…when other teens are going to parties and proms, they are practicing night and day. And most, after so many years of struggle and sacrifice, never get the medal for which they strive. Yet they keep going every day because they burn with a fire that can’t be quenched. I know this “fire”…the drive to be “successful” as a full-time author of modern-day Bible stories, contemporary novels based on Old Testament stories that get across God’s message. I still don’t know what my “success” will look like – I don’t know if I’ll get any “medals” (like landing on the NY Times Bestseller List) or if I’ll even be able to make a living doing God’s will through my writing…all I know is I have to keep trying, practicing, striving. I believe this kind of “fire” is also what Jesus talked about in this weekend’s Gospel reading at Mass: “I have come to set the earth on fire and how I wish it were already blazing…and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished.” (Luke 12:49-53) Jesus tells us this fire may bring division, sometimes among friends or family members…who may think you’re a “Holy Roller” or just plain crazy to work so hard. If you’ve found your passion, your purpose to do God’s will and you burn with a fire that perhaps no one else really understands, don’t let it be extinguished by mistakes, failure, anguish or the misunderstanding, jealousy or disdain of others. Light it every day with prayer, hope, faith and self-love. Sometimes it will flicker precariously in times of doubt…but then there are times when a strong rush of wind – God’s power or even the praise and support of others – will help it burn bright again. Just never let it go out.