In her book, The Holy Spirit, Sr. Mary Ann Fatula of Ohio Dominican University writes, “We know that the Father’s perfect image or ‘icon’ is the Son (Colossians 1:15), and that the Son’s living ‘icon’ is the Spirit; but there is no other divine person who is the Spirit’s image. It is human persons filled with the Spirit who are the most brilliant icon revealing the Holy Spirit to the world.”
Have you ever thought of yourself as the living icon of the Holy Spirit? Jesus was limited in time and space to the first century, but the risen Christ transcends all time and space and eternity so that his living presence can fill the whole creation. As believers and followers of the risen Christ, our lives become the dwelling place, the guest house for the Holy Spirit to live and shine through us.
I have been wondering lately, what kind of host I have been to the Holy Spirit. Have I relegated her to a back room that is full of dust and dirt? Have I limited the Spirit to only one part of who I am rather than allowing the Spirit to take full possession of my life? Have I put forth my best effort to make sure that my life is a hospitable dwelling place for God? Maybe this is why Jesus was born in the hay among the stable animals—a stark reminder that none of us are too smelly and awful for God to live in and love us and transform us.
Perhaps prayer, meditation, journaling, Bible-reading, exercise and other forms of spiritual practice are for the Holy Spirit, the equivalent of house cleaning, preparing a lovely meal, and setting out the nicest towels for a houseguest. Where does my life need some sprucing up so that the Spirit may enter more fully? Am I willing to die to my ego and my preferred outcomes so that the Holy Spirit can shine brilliantly through me?
Perhaps this is what is really meant by the Aaronic blessing God spoke to Moses: “The Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord’s face shine upon you and be gracious to you, the Lord look upon you with favor and + give you peace” (Numbers 6:22-26). Perhaps way back then, Moses and Aaron understood that God’ presence not only shines on us, but through us. It’s like sunlight—we don’t look at the sun directly but we see it instead, in the light it shines all around us. We do not see the Holy Spirit’s light directly, but we see it reflected in the faces and lives of those in whom the Holy Spirit dwells fully.
I think it’s time for some thorough spiritual spring cleaning.