Years ago, my husband bought me an opal pendant. I really like the opal because it has lots of “fire” in it—-meaning there are a lot of color spots that are pleasant to look at as I turn the opal this way and that. It has occurred to me that we are like opals in some ways.
According to books I have consulted, the opal is one of the most interesting and colorful gemstones. No other precious gem produces the array of beautiful colors that the opal does. The opal is a silicate which contains some water in its composition. The pin-fire opal I have is a type in which the main body of the stone is usually white and shows a myriad of small pinpoint colors all through the surface. The flashes of color occur when a ray of light meets a very thin film of the opal which has a different optical density from that of the light. Precious opal contains a great number of these thin films which are layers of submicroscopic spheres. The flashes of color vary as the stone is turned. Some opals are considered florescent minerals.
How can we compare ourselves to opals? First, an opal with lots of fire in it is attractive and very precious. When we have the fire of the Holy Spirit in us, we can attract others by our Christian attitude and behavior. We can draw more people to us and, hopefully, to Jesus. Every opal is different; each one of us is unique and precious in God’s eyes. Each of us has different color spots—-if you see the analogy—different ways of reflecting the Light, that is Jesus, to those around us. When we turn the opal, we see different colors; when we openly turn to the Lord and to our brothers and sisters, our different talents and gifts are released, and we can find more ways to be of service.
Color, or fire, in opals is caused by the collision with light; our fire is caused by our collision or meeting with the Holy Spirit who can fill us with zeal and power. Fire is refining and purifying in its power. Not long ago, we celebrated Pentecost. The Holy Spirit brought power to the disciples as tongues of fire rested upon their heads. After that, the disciples were filled with zeal and the fire of God’s message of love.
The ancient superstition about opals restoring keenness of vision brings to mind that with the light of Jesus Christ, our vision of his kingdom can be brought to greater clarity. We see things of this world differently when we look through Spirit-filled eyes of faith and joy.
How can we keep our fire burning? In order to keep any fire burning, three things are needed: something combustible, a source of heat, and oxygen. To keep our fires burning, we need to be ready and willing to surrender to the Lord who is our source of heat and light, and who gives us the breath of life. We must fan our fires, stay very close to our Source through prayer and sacraments, and humbly strive to adore him who colors our humble lives!
P.S. Potch is opal that does not show the play of color, or, as miners say, is not alive. Let’s be sure we treasure and nurture our fire, so no one can say we are potch!