Spirit and Fire by Patti Jo Crockett MGL; Missionaries of God Love, Page, ACT; $15 plus $2.50 postage
Reviewed by Barbara J. Flynn
SPIRIT and Fire is a book of journey, a journey of the spirit wherein the Holy Spirit’s action, involvement and transforming effects within the humanity of Jesus are proposed as a model for Christians.
Patti Jo Crockett, a retreat director, explores communion between the Holy Spirit and the human Jesus at different life-stages.
Her desire appears to be to raise the consciousness of baptised Christians to the incredible graces available to each person through Baptism in the Spirit (also termed Release of the Spirit), a process in renewal of faith.
This process, most often is an adult commitment freely made by the person. They seek to be strengthened by the Holy Spirit and to live their Christian life in all fullness, open to, and guided by the transforming influence of God’s spirit.
Crockett indicates that Baptism in the Spirit is not a once-only event in the life of a Christian who seeks intimacy and love of God.
Progressive immersions in the Spirit equip Christians to live their evangelising mission in the world.
Crockett’s thesis is that the Holy Spirit’s initiative as a transforming power in the life of the human Jesus is not a phenomenon restricted to Jesus but is a grace available “to the baptised” to the degree that they seek in sincerity and truth.
Crockett invites the reader to consider the progressive developing relationship of the Holy Spirit at specific stages of Jesus’ life.
Significantly the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist in the Jordan River heralds Jesus’ call to mission in the world of His time.
Crockett establishes through Scripture-based discussion that the mission of Jesus to teach, to heal and to proclaim the compassionate love of God for all people is the mediating work of God’s spirit active through the openness of Jesus to its transforming influences.
She draws substantially on the writings of other authors in Spirit Christology. In particular, Crockett liberally employs texts from Breath of Life, A Theology of the Creator Spirit by Denis Edwards.
Every chapter of Spirit and Fire has merit in its exploration of the deepening communion, which develops progressively at each life-stage between Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Chapter 4 provides significant insight into “the radical openness of Jesus to the Holy Spirit at the climax of His mission, the crucifixion”.
Through frequent prayer to the Father and freedom of His spirit to accept progressive transformations in and through the Holy Spirit, Jesus is enabled “to flow into the baptism of the Passion and be sustained through brutality, terror, pain and finally death”.
Crockett’s reflections and teachings, take the reader very much into a journey of the Spirit within.
They illustrate how the journey of life of a baptised Christian is intensely graced by God to the degree that the individual embraces progressively the transforming action of the Holy Spirit at ever deepening levels.
I recommend this small book of rich teachings on the Holy Spirit’s action in the lives of Christians. It is appropriate for small-group sharing in adult faith development.
Spirit and Fire is obtainable from the Missionaries of God’s Love (MGL) Sisters, 6 Dunstan Street, Balwyn North 3104 Vic.