Why “En Fuego”

A few summers ago, my brother and I were left home alone because our grandparents (who lived with us at the time) and our parents were either out of country or out of state. That meant that my bro and I were left all alone to fend for ourselves by taking care of the house and somehow making food materialize.

That was when I decided to grill for the first time.

But it was a charcoal grill and nothing involving propane. I had to Google to make sure I knew I wasn’t doing anything dumb when trying to prep the grill for cooking. A nice pyramidal shape for the charcoals. Starter fluid at the ready. Matches ready to be lit. After dousing the charcoals with starter fluid, I lit the match and threw it into the grill. A great eruption of fire and flame came from the bowels of the grill and stayed that way for a minute. Then the flames started to die down. Me, being the newbie that I was at grilling, grew uncertain whether the charcoals were really lit or not. So I doused it with more starter fluid! Maybe I just wanted to see more fire erupt from the grill…

I did this a few times just to keep the fire going and to make sure the charcoals did, in fact, get lit.

In this experience, I learned that you stack the charcoals in a pyramid because such a shape lets hot charcoals keep the other charcoals hot. I adjusted the pyramid a little, but a charcoal fell away from the others. That particular one didn’t get hot like the others and hardened.  I also learned that it’s important to keep it hot by keeping the fire going or at least until the charcoals become hot enough to sustain the heat. No heat, no delicious bratwurst.

This experience of grilling for the first time is a good launching point for why my blog is called, “En Fuego”.

In every practicing Catholic’s life, we receive the sacrament of Confirmation. This sacrament completes baptismal grace by receiving the Holy Spirit in full in order to live out and defend our faith strengthened by the Holy Spirit. When I got Confirmed in high school, we had to attend a retreat to help us prepare for Confirmation. The theme of the retreat, or at least on the t-shirts we received, was “En Fuego”. The back of the shirt cited a Bible verse from James, “…fan into flame the gift God has given”.

In high school and college, I associated importance, fervor, and zeal for my Catholic faith with the feeling of being on fire with the Holy Spirit.

When I started this blog in 2012, I was in the midst of being proactive in ministries at my parish. The idea of being on fire was something that I reflected on quite a bit at the time. Being on fire doesn’t suggest passivity. If I were literally on fire, I probably wouldn’t be sitting around being all “whatevs”. Haha, I mean, I’d probably be freaking out, but I certainly wouldn’t be passive! My faith caught fire again when I started becoming involved in my faith in 2010 through having to teach it. I started getting really involved in youth ministry, Mass, and other ministries as well. I also started growing hungry to know my faith better and learning how to explain my faith to others. I certainly wasn’t passive in pursuing these different ways to know and express my faith better. To be even more proactive, not necessarily in a Catholic context, I even started getting involved with my brother’s high school band as a booster member. Conveniently, my second year of helping out as a band booster, the theme of the marching show was, “On Fire”. Affirmation, much?

Hmm. I was on fire with the Holy Spirit. I sought ways to keep that fire alive through involvement as well actively learning about my faith better to better teach others about it in and outside of my parish.

Lastly, in the past several years of being proactive in my faith, I’ve learned more about saints and #ThingsSaintsSay. St. Catherine of Siena, a mystic in the Church, once said

“If you are who you should be, then you will set the world on fire.”

You see, after looking back at my life, I see the difference between where my faith was and wasn’t important to me. Up until early high school, I defined myself by what I did and what I accomplished. This was disastrous at times causing me great suffering that I didn’t know how to deal with. It wasn’t until I was going through religious education in the Catholic faith and preparation for Confirmation that the Lord started eroding my sense of self-definition that continues even til today. Since then, I’ve realized that my life so far has been a journey of trying to be the person that God created me to be. I have an identity in Christ as a Christian. That’s important because in being me as He created me to be means that my will has conformed to His will. And His will is perfect and what is best for me and those around me. It will set the world ablaze!

With all that said, that is why blog is entitled, “En Fuego”.  It’s a place to talk about how I’m active in my faith and to express how I can relate my faith to the other aspects of my life.

Fightin’ Texas Aggie Student Bonfire Burn. November 2009.

Charcoal grilling picture courtesy of Wikipedia