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May 23, 2016 | Volume 91 Number 15

COMMENTARY

Confirmation: a passage on the faith jouney

Hundreds of teens in parishes of the Diocese of Richmond recently received the sacrament of Confirmation which is meant to be an affirmation of their Catholic Christian faith.

Both Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo and Msgr. Mark Richard Lane, Vicar General, were on the Confirmation circuit which in the Diocese of Richmond begins right after Easter and ends with Pentecost or soon thereafter.

The vast majority of the youths who were confirmed realize the importance of their “yes” to the Catholic Church and view the rite of Confirmation as a continuing passage on a faith journey which will never end until the Lord calls them to their heavenly home.

A very small few were likely confirmed only because of parental pressure and may look upon their Confirmation as a means to an end. In the past, others who felt that way more or less said “I don’t have to go to Mass anymore. I just got confirmed.”

It may not be this simplistic, but don’t think it hasn’t been said.

What a shame! It’s disappointing not so much because they are disregarding the real purpose of Confirmation, but because they see no connection with Christ’s message and how adhering to it in daily life helps one with the ups and downs of life. Faith is God’s gift to us, but since God gives us free will, we can either accept or reject it.

Who would want to miss out on what might be likened to a safety net to help us when we are faced with tragedy or sorrow? Friends and family can and want to be consoling, but we need the strength that only comes from God who loves and cares for us. This inner strength has to be developed over time. It should never be dismissed by thoughts like “I’ve got it all. I’ve now been confirmed.”

Most likely any who would think like this would have a misguided understanding of Christ as Savior and Redeemer and any roots in faith would be shallow at best.

In the sacrament of Confirmation, the baptized person is “sealed with the Gift of the Holy Spirit” by the laying on of hands by a bishop or his representative. The oil of the Sacred Chrism used is the same oil used at Baptism.

No, confirmation is not an ending. The sacrament is meant to foster a desire to continue to grow and develop as Christians.

Prayer is key to it all. But it takes time and effort to develop a prayer life. It doesn’t happen overnight, but it is easy if we make a conscious effort to talk with Jesus.

We learn to walk as children by taking one or two steps at a time, usually guided by a parent who loves us. As we mature our steps become more secure. So it is with prayer. As we move from a few words of praise or seek guidance on what we should do or not do, we become more confident and trusting in our time with the Lord. We receive comfort and strength from this encounter.

Our young people who were recently confirmed are to be congratulated for wanting to grow as Catholic Christians. Let’s give them our support as they continue on the journey.

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