Did you know that faithful people have been receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation for over 2000 years? In Acts 19, Paul the Apostle lays his hands on a group of the faithful and the Holy Spirit descends upon them, just like the Bishop does today. On Saturday at St. William, 35 candidates shared in this rich and ancient tradition that millions of Catholics have been graced with throughout time. Thank you God, for your gifts and please bless your children as they now live as fully initiated people of the Catholic Church. An important distinction that sometimes gets lost is that it is not us that chooses Christ. We have already been chosen, we only respond to His call. How have we responded to his call lately?
Baptism makes us children of the Father, Holy Eucharist unites us with Jesus Christ the Son, and Confirmation gives us a share in the Holy Spirit. Think of the Apostles, before the Holy Spirit came upon them, timid and fearful. They believed in the truth of the Resurrection but they them-selves lacked the strength required to preach the Gospel openly. So like the Apostles, it is through this Sacrament that we are more perfectly bound to the Church and we are strengthened by the Holy Spirit. Cardinal John Wright reflected, “With the contemporary renewed emphasis on the Holy Spirit and in the light of certain trials and temptations of the Christian life, its relevance and its meaning should become more clear. It cannot be easily identified with a clearly spelled out act or state, and yet it is the Sacrament, in a way, of everyday Christian vitality because it gives us the Holy Spirit in a special manner to fortify us in the day-to-day struggle with the powers of darkness, to enable us to answer the enemy, to come to maturity, prepared to show our faith in word and action, to live it and defend it…”
With each passing year, we see the changing world around us and with that its temptations. And yet, our defense remains the same because of our love of God that helps us to make good choices. When we understand this, we can see that this relationship frees us from the hollow promises of temptation, which are often subtle. It can be hard to remember but the effects of Confirmation are often expressed in the “seven gifts of the Holy Spirit”. Wisdom, which detaches us from the world, enabling us to savor spiritual things above earthly things. Understanding, which helps us to know more clearly the mysteries of faith. Knowledge, which lets us know the will of God and points us to the path. Counsel warns us against spiritual dangers and enables us to see and choose correctly. Piety inspires in us a tender love and confidence in God and all that calls us to his service. Fear of the Lord gives us saving dread from sin which offends God and a bound-less respect for Him. And Fortitude, which I think is the most characteristic gift of Confirmation, strengthens us to do God’s will especially in the face of trials and temptations. All of these gifts are given freely from the moment of birth and intensified at Confirmation. It’s still left to us to make our own choices and decisions we are faced with each day. How will you respond to His call today?
Please pray for our 35 candidates receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation on May 21, 2022 at St. William Church.
Reflection by Quynh “Anton” Pham, Youth Minister