For graduations and the celebration of Confirmation.There is an old ministry joke about the Methodist, Lutheran and Catholic clergy who had a common problem with bats in their Churches. The Methodist and Lutheran minister tried everything, but they could not get rid of the bats. The Catholic priest, however, found an easy solution. He simply baptized and confirmed them; he never saw the bats again.
Unfortunately, too many young people and their parents think that confirmation is a rite of passage and a graduation from the Church.
Pope Benedict, in his message for World Youth Day (2008) said as much:
It happens that many young people distance themselves from their life of faith after they have received confirmation. There are also young people who have not even received this sacrament. Yet it is through the sacraments of baptism, confirmation and then, in an ongoing way, the Eucharist, that the Holy Spirit makes us children of the father, brothers and sisters of Jesus, members of his church, capable of a true witness to the gospel, and able to savor the joy of faith.
Confirmation, therefore, is not a graduation from the Church. It is a completion of Baptismal grace. Confirmation brings us into deeper communion with Christ and his Church. It is an insertion into, and not a graduation from, the Body of Christ.
When I was confirmed, way back in the last century, it was impressed on me that Confirmation made me a “soldier for Christ”. This means that Confirmation gives us the grace and strength to spread and defend the Church in the world. It gives us the grace to be beacons of Christ’s light to others.
But it is up to us to accept the gift. Confirmation leaves an indelible mark on our souls; we receive the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. We can choose however not to “power up” the gifts that we receive.
After Jesus is baptized and anointed by the Holy spirit, he is led out into the desert to face temptations by the devil. It is the first sign that he will triumph over evil by dying on the cross and rising from the dead.
At the first Pentecost, the Apostles and disciples were anointed for their mission by the Holy Spirit. The formerly timid Apostles were transformed. After Pentecost they were on fire, and they boldly went out without fear to proclaim the Gospel.
At confirmation we are armed for battle with the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Just as Jesus won the battle over evil and began his public ministry, and the Apostles were transformed by Pentecost , we are called to proclaim, without fear, the Gospel. We are called to discipleship—to action. We are called to a life of holiness.
A video from Life Teen on Confirmation:
That’s a pretty cool video!
Awesome video! I did not make my confirmation but I know when I turned that “magical” age of 18 I stopped going to church. I believed in God and prayed so I felt I was was good to go, little did I know! RCIA here I come.