Come Holy Spirit, Come
Next Sunday, March 12th, is our annual Confirmation Mass at Immaculate Conception. This is an important moment in our parishes that often is overlooked, unless you have children or grandchildren being confirmed. We invite the Lord to pour out the Holy Spirit on these 10th graders, that their lives may never be the same.
It gives us a chance to reflect on our own Confirmation and I have had a chance to reflect on my own Confirmation recently. On February 23, I celebrated the twentieth anniversary of my Confirmation! What a transformative day in each of our lives.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church discusses the effects of Confirmation (1302-1305) and it is mind blowing. The Catechism lists five effects of the Sacrament (1303):
– it roots us more deeply in the divine filiation which makes us cry, “Abba! Father!”
– it unites us more firmly to Christ;
– it increases the gifts of the Holy Spirit in us;
– it renders our bond with the Church more perfect;
– it gives us a special strength of the Holy Spirit to spread and defend the faith by word and action as true witnesses of Christ, to confess the name of Christ boldly, and never to be ashamed of the Cross
These are incredible effects. The first three effects deal with each person of the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The fourth is about deepening our relationship with the Holy Spirit.
The fifth effect is powerful. The Sacrament gives a “special strength.” This strength was not present before. A power that is communicated at the moment of Confirmation. This is a power of the Holy Spirit which gives us the ability to “spread and defend the faith by word and action.” Confirmation isn’t given to us for ourselves, but it is poured out on us so that we can spread the faith of Christ. Think of the Apostles at Pentecost. The Holy Spirit was poured out upon them in the upper room and they went out boldly proclaiming salvation in Jesus Christ.
This power of the Holy Spirit enables its recipient to “confess the name of Christ boldly.” What a great adverb: “boldly.” This is how we are to act. With boldness and conviction. Confirmation isn’t for the faint of heart, but for the one ready for a bold start.
Finally, Confirmation gives us the grace to, “never be ashamed of the cross.” Suffering in our world and suffering in our own life can sometimes be ugly and uncomfortable. Confirmation gives us the ability to never be embarrassed by the cross. We know that there is suffering, yet Jesus gives a definitive meaning to suffering by the cross. We find hope and victory in the cross of Christ.
Please pray for all those preparing for Confirmation. May the Lord fill them with sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit. May He renew the grace of Confirmation in each one of our hearts. Come Holy Spirit!
Sincerely in Christ,
Fr. Sean Wilson