When we moved to East Tennessee from arid, drought stricken New Mexico in 2013, we thought we had left wildfires behind. We had plenty of experience over the years not only of their proximity and consequences, but the impact on people in the area and, of course, the firefighters combatting the wildfires. We’ve watched the cliff walls of the Jemez Canyon burn as the Virgin Mesa was engulfed one year. More than once we could read tail numbers on the slurry bombers lining up for their passes over the Mesa. Another time, as the Las Conchas wildfire devoured over 150,000 acres 8 miles away from us, the road was closed and we prayed for every hot shot crew that drove past. We remember profoundly our gratitude to every member of each crew that drove or flew by on their way to the dangerous job ahead.
So when we recently noticed the building smoke and haze telltale of wildfires, it was a natural and immediate reaction to pray. Pray not only for rain but for everyone in danger, in harm’s way, and especially for every firefighter and other first responder. You have our ardent and fervent prayers and our gratitude.
May Saint Michael protect you and guide you and Our Lady wrap her mantle around you and bring you peace amid the fight.
We share a last photo from New Mexico. After the Virgin Mesa fire was extinguished, a spectacular rainbow formed over a hill near the Monastery with a cross on top.
A reminder, God is in control. Be not afraid!