I was watching a video from Bishop Barron recently that was speaking on the Holy Spirit and he made a point that I found interesting, “The Holy Spirit is dangerous.” With only two minutes into the video, now he had me intrigued. Often we think about God, our loving Father and His Son, in terms of merciful, understanding, and providers of unconditional love. While we might think of the Holy Spirit similarly, what Bishop Barron was addressing were the symbols of the Holy Spirit and their destructive power.
The symbols, water, fire, and wind, in our everyday life can be quite destructive. Water can ravish a town after a Hurricane. I had first hand experience in rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina and returning five years later and still witnessing the devastation and damaged caused by simply, water. Many of us saw the destruction of homes and natural preserves through brushfires. We witness wind destruction in central Illinois and closer to my hometown, Peoria, when Washington, IL was devastated by a tornado just a few years ago. These terms and symbols are not weak or soft by any means, but rather are engaging, active, and forceful.
As I reflected more about what he was saying and how I can interpret this, I started to draw the comparison to my own discernment process years ago. Frankly, I needed to go through destruction to build anew. I don’t find it a coincidence that many of the opportunities I have had in my work life have led me to Springfield, Il and to a Diocese that wants to pursue stewardship as a way of life. Unfortunately, there are not many of us in my field of Catholic stewardship and to land in a Diocese who is taking on this radical challenge is not just perfect timing, but the work of the Holy Spirit.
But, how do we know what God wants us to do? When I think my to my journey and the first Parish I worked for in Catholic stewardship 10 years ago, I can honestly say that I was quite hesitant at the time. I have recently been in a bad relationship, I was going to graduate school at night, I had no experience working at a Catholic Parish and lastly had no idea what Catholic Stewardship was. To say that those two and a half years were a growing experience is an understatement. Not only was it growth professionally, but before I had moved on to my next role, I realized I was no longer working. I had accepted this as a calling, a vocation. This was more to me than a job, it was the movement of the Holy Spirit and I was just saying, “Yes.”
Despite feeling pulled in other directions, with an open heart and mind, we too can look at our lives and realize the active role of the Holy Spirit. I am sure many of you have similar stories of hesitancy or anxiety about a decision, only to find strength, comfort, and conviction of faith in the process. It is the work of the Holy Spirit in my life that I realize the destructive power of those symbols. I was at a point where I needed to be plowed down, changed, and renewed. Sometimes a little destruction in our life is what we need, despite trying to push it away. Listening to the Holy Spirit in your life, allowing the spirit to be an agent of change in your daily decisions, will draw you closer to doing exactly what God wants in your life. When you live a life with the Holy Spirit, you are living the life God wants you to live.
Katie Price is the Cathedral Coordinator of Stewardship. She received her Bachelor’s from Loyola University- Chicago and her Master’s Degree in Public Service Management from DePaul University. Her research focus was on Catholic stewardship. She can be contacted at [email protected].