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Father Muench Says...

A wonderfully transforming sacrament

June 3, 2015

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

This is the time of year for Confirmation.  I have personally attended several Confirmation ceremonies recently. 

Many parishes schedule Confirmation during the Easter and Pentecost time – it is a perfect time for Confirmation – as we remember and celebrate the descent of the Holy Spirit on the apostles. My own great-niece, Anna, will be confirmed this week. 

Confirmation is a special sacrament. It is a time for our young people to make a personal decision, a time for them to renew their Baptism. 

Many put off Confirmation, thinking, I suppose, that it is not a very important ceremony.  But, this is a sacrament – a transforming moment. It is a time of rebirth into the journey of life, a time to discover God in a special way that will truly change a person’s life.

I want to make certain that you all realize just how wonderfully transforming this sacrament is.  If you have not received Confirmation – no matter how old you are – stop in to visit your pastor so that you can be included in this year’s Confirmation ceremony.

Confirmation celebrates our own Pentecost.  At that first Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles to fill them with courage and boldness so that they were ready to bring the message of Jesus into this world.

We believe in faith that Confirmation brings upon us gifts – the gifts of the Holy Spirit – just as the Holy Spirit gave to those first apostles on that first Pentecost.  Truly, the Holy Spirit brings those very same gifts so that we can truly become disciples of the Lord ready to bring Christ more alive in our lives and through us to our world that we can make this world a better place. 

Those who receive the Sacrament of Confirmation are asked to learn those gifts so that they may realize that they have been given these gifts into their lives.  These gifts are found in the Old Testament, in the Book of Isaiah.  I pray that they will all use these gifts well. I pray that those of us who have received Confirmation years ago will continue to realize that these gifts of the Holy Spirit can and must continue to act in our live – even today- that we truly come alive in the Spirit.

First of all, the Holy Spirit comes to unite us all into the People of God into the Church, into the Body of Christ.  As a united people, we must love one another. That is what Jesus teaches us and where the Holy Spirit leads and guides us: to be a loving people. 

Each time we gather together at Mass as the Body of Christ we should begin by praying for each other. We are called to pray for everyone in that Mass; they are our family this day. We pray for them and they pray for us as we gather for Mass.  I may know all present but I am certain that there is one person there – maybe more – who is in desperate need of our prayers that day.  

So we, as the people of God, must take this precious moment to pray for all, especially those with particular needs.

God’s first gift to us through the Holy Spirit is love.  God loves us first; God loves us unconditionally, even in our sins.  God loves us – we do not have to earn God’s love – God loves us.  We are a loved people. You are a loved person. May you live like a loved person.  That is what it means for us as Catholic Christians, followers of Jesus, to live like a loved person, loved by the Lord God with a love that fills our life through the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  People should see in our lives – even in our eyes – that we truly know we are loved by our God, that we truly live in the love of our Savior.

Let me take a moment here to remind you of the gifts of the Holy Spirit that are given us in Isaiah. We are blessed in each of these ways by the coming of the Holy Spirit to us in Baptism and Confirmation: 
• Knowledge (we realize who God is and who we are)
• Wisdom (the Holy Spirit gives us the capacity to love spiritual things more than materialize ones)
• Understanding (the Holy Spirit guides and leads us to comprehend how we need to live as followers of Jesus)
• Counsel (The Holy Spirit helps us to know the difference between right and wrong)
• Fortitude (the Holy Spirit makes us strong and bold – ready to take risks as a follower of Jesus)
• Piety (the Holy Spirit give us a deep sense of respect for God and His Church).

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