Not the Sweet Little Mushy-Gushy Holy Spirit Dove

Imagine the Holy Spirit as a dove.

Does your imagination produce this:

Search results for "holy spirit dove."

Search results for “holy spirit dove.”

or this:

Search results for "crucifixion."

Search results for “crucifixion.”


But, but, but… that’s not a dove!  That’s Jesus crucified!

I know.  I never put the two together, either.  When I think of the Holy Spirit dove, I think of… oh, I don’t know, lovey-dovey-rays-of-warm-fuzzies in my heart-heart-heart.  But apparently that’s—EEEEEEHHHH! (that’s a buzzer)—-wrong.

From Ven. Fulton Sheen’s Life of Christ:

The Spirit of God never appears in the figure of a Dove anywhere save here [the Baptism of Our Lord]… When the mother of Our Lord brought Him to the temple, her offering was a dove.  The dove was the symbol of gentleness and peacefulness, but above all it was the type of sacrifice possible to the lowliest people. Whenever a Hebrew thought of a lamb or a dove, he immediately thought of a sacrifice for sin.  Therefore, the Spirit descending upon Our Lord was for them a symbol of submission to sacrifice (59, emphasis mine).

Whaddamean, Fulton J. Sheen?  That our fuzzily-wuzzily light-beaming pop “art” of the Holy Spirit is not only gauche, but theologically lacking?