Anders: Becoming Flame, Uncommon Mother-Daughter Wisdom

Anders: Becoming Flame: Uncommon Mother-Daughter Wisdom

Guest Writer: Isabel Anders

“If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world on fire.”  —St. Catherine of Siena.

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            “Holy One,” a disciple asks his master within the context of a traditional “school” of learning. “What is the difference between knowledge and wisdom?” It is said that the Holy One answered: “When you have knowledge, you use a torch to show the way. When you are wise, you become the torch.”

One trait shared by the various strains of dialogical wisdom is the personal commitment that is required from one’s soul in order even to approach the wisdom elicited through the dialogues. And so I title my collection of mother-daughter exchanges Becoming Flame.

We find many profound “feminine” insights among early Christian mystics who were “birthing” their faith; and today I believe that such wisdom is ripe for revitalization. As Mechthild of Magdeburg wrote: “Even though we are as a small vessel, yet Thou hast filled it. … ”

         In Becoming Flame I hope to bring attention to ways in which this tradition still lives and encourage its continued growth.

The Mother and Daughter saw a great ship on the horizon, its sails catching the red and gold of the morning rays.

“I long to be carried by such a glorious ship to the land of my hopes and dreams,” wished the Daughter aloud.

“You have been blessed with just such a Ship,” said the Mother.

“What is its name?” asked the Daughter.

Her Mother replied: “It is your Soul.”

—Isabel Anders, excerpted from Becoming Flame: Uncommon Mother-Daughter Wisdom (Wipf & Stock, 2010).