THEY CHANGE US, WE ARE INDEED CHANGED BY THEM
First Peter 3:21
Brothers and Sisters,
Two of our three parishes will see high school candidates receive the Sacrament of Confirmation this weekend. It is something that I wish we could celebrate as a wider community but, as I don’t need to tell you, the ongoing pandemic and rules surrounding it necessitate that the Mass with Confirmation be limited in attendance.
Without attending, of course, we still ought to pray for the members of Saint Charles and Saint Gall who will receive the Sacrament of Confirmation this weekend. Similarly to Baptism, this is a welcome opportunity for each of us to remember our own Confirmation in the Holy Faith and recall what it means for us.
There is no useless sacrament. This is something that is often a subconscious mistake into-which many often fall. The mistake is in thinking that a sacrament such as Confirmation or Matrimony merely formalizes a reality that already exists. It is easy enough to understand how this misunderstanding can come about – in matrimony, for example, an engaged couple as already decided that they which to spend their lives together as one household and they then approach the Church with their request for the Sacrament of Matrimony. Through the Marriage Rite, however, the Church does not merely recognize a reality that already exists, but rather gives grace through the bestowing of the sacrament that brings about the strength to live as husband and wife for a lifetime.
Likewise in Confirmation, the sacrament is not a mere recognition that the once-baptized-in-infancy is now all grown up. Rather, the Sacrament of Confirmation is a strengthening of baptismal grace so that the young Catholic is able to live the Holy Faith for a lifetime. The grace from the sacrament pours more grace upon the candidate, adds to the Baptism, and conforms us to the Holy Spirit so that we can recognize how to be faithful.
Perhaps this reality is easiest to see in the Sacrament of Holy Orders – which I hesitate to mention since so few receive this sacrament. Here’s the point: before I received the Sacrament of Holy Orders, I could say the words of consecration (“Take this, all of you, and eat of it for this is My Body…”) as much as I wanted; however it would not change bread into Body nor wine into Blood. If I had not received the Sacrament, it does not matter how many times I would have tried to say Mass – without the grace and benefit of the Sacrament of Holy Orders, I would simply not have the ability to consecrate the Eucharist.
The Seven Sacraments are not to be taken lightly. Even our receiving the Eucharist (every Sunday) is something that we must take seriously. The Eucharist is much more than a bland ritual from yesteryear. The Eucharist is the real Body and Blood of Christ – rightly called the Blessed Sacrament. Be sure to receive it worthily and often.
God be near,