Fire in the Belly
If you’re like me, you learned as a child that the Holy Spirit is a dove. This is the traditional symbol for the presence of the Holy Spirit in Scripture and religious art. I held this image for much of my life. The image of a dove isn’t one that I could relate to unlike the images of God the Father and Jesus which are human in nature. As a person who is not a big fan of birds, the Holy Spirit was a distant entity of the Trinity for me. That was until about 2007 when I read the book, "The Shack," by William P. Young. While this is not a theologically accurate book, it is an interesting piece of fiction that made me grapple with the very content that I was teaching my fourth grade students at the time, and my own understanding and appreciation of the Holy Spirit. The concept of the Holy Spirit was prevalent in the religion curriculum as it related to the sacraments of initiation. I needed to spend time with students engaging in the gifts of the Holy Spirit. This was the perfect storm for a conversion moment – a compelling novel, new understanding of the Holy Spirit, and moral responsibility to teach the Truth. Working through all that was before me, I developed a deeper, more profound connection and relationship with the Holy Spirit. It is less about the dove and more about the fire. The fire that descended upon the disciples at Pentecost and burned in their bellies to give them the zeal and fortitude to carry out Jesus’s mission for all time. Every morning, I now ask the Holy Spirit to be with me and guide me, to grant me the gifts of wisdom, understanding, knowledge, and courage to do what the Lord needs me to do. I can do all things through God, the Holy Spirit, who strengthens me. I have come to appreciate that the Holy Spirit is the power. The Holy Spirit is the force. The Holy Spirit is the energy brought out through love of God and love of Jesus.