Like A Dove
Several years ago, my wife Merideth and I visited Rome and spent some time at the Vatican.
At the time I was feeling a bit dusty and dry spiritually. I figured that if there was anywhere on earth that I might experience a sign from God it would be in St. Peter's Basilica in the center of Vatican Square.
As we waited for Mass to start, Merideth and I went into a gift shop. Merideth hates to shop, but I love it. Merideth got tired of shopping and went outside while I stayed inside poking around for gifts.
Suddenly I heard a commotion outside and went to investigate. Merideth said, "You're not going to believe this! A perfect white dove just flew down into this square, hovered over everyone who was here and then flew away! It was amazing!"
I was dumbfounded. I'd been searching for a sign, and I had missed the one that God had sent.
We went inside to attend Mass. I was beating myself up, and wondering what was wrong with me, why I always seemed to be missing out on feeling God's presence... so spiritually dry.
Then I looked up. Above the ornate main altar in St. Peter's Basilica is a beautiful stained glass image of a white dove--the sign of the Holy Spirit. The words from Matthew's Gospel surrounded it: "This is my Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased..."
These words are from the moment of Jesus' baptism in the Jordan River. As he comes out of the water after being baptized by John the Baptist, the Spirit of God descends upon Jesus "like a dove," and a voice from heaven declares those words: "This is my Beloved...."
I began to weep uncontrollably. It's like I could hear the voice of God in my head saying over and over again---"Beloved... you are my Beloved... you are always my Beloved..."
If you've been struggling to feel the presence of God... if you're seeking purpose and direction for your life... if you are searching for a sign...
Remember that you are God's Beloved. Know that the Holy Spirit is upon you. Know that the Son stands with you. Know that God is well pleased with you. May you know this, and may it give you peace.