We have begun to celebrate Confirmations!
It has been a long wait, but Thanks be to God, we have begun!
These events are moments of heaven bound joy. The celebration of a Sacrament has many sides. A most beautiful side has to do with the heart felt awareness of God’s unconditional love that binds itself to each of our stories. The movement is always from God to us in such a way that what is in God becomes a reality in the history that each of us represents. It is always a gentle movement, it is said, as gentle as a drop of dew that shapes granite into a work of art. This reality of God’s presence in human life finds doorways through which we are able to “see” what God is doing.
Hence, the sacraments are doorways into God’s presence. In the Sacrament of Confirmation, we open the door and we are able to see the burning fire of God’s love, the fire that descended upon the Lord at this Baptism and the apostles on Pentecost. As Church, we tell each of those receiving Confirmation that this fire belongs to them, it is their fire. If at Baptism, parents and God parents are told, “protect this light with your lives”, at Confirmation we plead, “this fire belongs to you, protect it, let it become the fire of your love and life”.
It is obvious that the celebration of Confirmations in our parish of Our Lady of Soledad is not something isolated. It has to do with every single one of us today, and is the guarantee of our future. The fact of this fire upon these men and women, newly confirmed, is the kindling of God’s fire upon the entire Church. What we need is to be vulnerable enough to shed a tear of joy in the intimate awareness that the fire of God’s love moves from those Confirmed to each of us. Beyond consolation and renewal, we become Church once again! – Brand new!
Do we need to become brand new? YES! The pandemic has realy left us with few other choices. In many corners of life, God’s fire continues to burn, but it is a lonely experience. The light in the sanctuary, next to the tabernacle, does not cease to burn, yet the church is empty. We need to ask, in the words of a wonderful holy man, Cardinal Carlo Maria Martin: How can the flame of love grow strong again?
We are the individuals with the generosity of the Good Samaritan?
Who have the faith of the Roman centurion? Or the daring of Paul?
Who are the faithful like Mary Magdalen!
Our church needs to say, here we are, recreated and enthused by the celebrations! The entire Church needs to accept the challenge of the Conifrmandi who are on fire by the spirit so that it can be spread far and wide. Cardinal Martini would say, the Church needs unconventioal people who will take on leadership roles. Those who are close to the poor,who can galvanize young people by being willing to try new approaches.
Let the Fire recreate you, recreate us all.