Do you ever wonder what energy is? A physicist defines it as the ability to do work ('work' being any sort of change, basically). A modern dictionary adds the words 'vigor' and 'power' to the stricter scientific definition. I think of energy as a force, one hard to describe, but one plainly present in some people and things. Constant movement, a sense of life, nay, a sense of joy and purpose in life, a desire to make the most of a situation, to raise the spark of love in the room, to see all things in God's light, is energy for me. There is no stagnation, but a vigor and power. I can recognize a distorted energy too, in the workaholics of our day, in an abused vigor twisted from the pursuit of happiness to a crazed and almost violent search for stuff. Energy is no longer joy in life but a certain satisfaction with efficiently completing duties. This energetic person has no time for reflection, only time for action; no time for grasping truth, only time for grasping.
Well, at this last retreat, I was wondering not only how energy is defined, but also how to get it, and what it looked like. I can tell you that as I surveyed the small group of 52 kids that Saturday morning, I was not going to have my curiosity sated. They were forced to be there, perhaps, or maybe they were better actors than I (which is saying a lot :P) and were just hiding the fact that they had energy, waiting to release it into the room at some secret sign agreed to amongst themselves. Or maybe they were just as unsure of us as I was starting to be of them. Maybe they were waiting for us to give the sign.
The sign that the apostles waited for in that upper room. The sign Jesus promised: "And I will ask the Father: and he shall give you another Paraclete, that he may abide with you for ever: The spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, nor knoweth him. But you shall know him; because he shall abide with you and shall be in you." A Paraclete is a helper, a comforter, and Jesus promised His followers that this Spirit would come and dwell with them forever. As the Apostles waited, afraid and lonely, in that upper room, there was no energy. Then came the Spirit: "And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a mighty wind coming: and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them parted tongues, as it were of fire: and it sat upon every one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost: and they began to speak with divers tongues, according as the Holy Ghost gave them to speak." Then they went forth and preached so mightily that three thousand (3000!) people were baptized that day. The apostles were filled with energy, an energy so vigorous and powerful that from that point on, the apostles never rested from their mission of spreading the good news and fighting the forces of evil.
So this sign the kids wait for on this bright sunny hot winter morning (yes, hot, yes, winter), is the Spirit that so soon will be theirs! That is what is needed to transform their souls and my soul into a tongue of fire, flickering, more than flickering, burning! with energy!
O Comforter, to Thee we cry,
To Thee, the Gift of God Most High,
The Fount of life, the Fire of love,
The soul's Anointing from above.