Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Confessions of a Confirmation Catechist: Confirmation

As I watched from the choir loft this past Saturday, my Confirmandi were sealed with the Holy Spirit. The loft offers a fine vantage point. I was able to identify all my students (and even put names to most of them) and pray for them as they came down the aisle. God bless her. God bless him. God bless That Guy. Everyone seemed to be standing straight, as we practiced. Yes, we practiced standing straight -- when people are nervous, they tend to hunch down into themselves, and instead of making them invisible, it only draw attention. Standing straight doesn't draw attention. And most of my students aren't eager to draw attention to themselves.

The bishop came down and asked questions, as always, and the kids did an acceptable job of answering them. And then, and then, the bonus question:

"Can anyone tell me," the bishop asked, "the names of the first twenty-five popes?"

And Tim P. -- the man, the myth, the legend -- stood up and reeled off all twenty-five, much to the astonishment of the bishop. I was up in the choir loft, counting along, cheering him on, exulting. The bishop was astonished.

"Well, that's the last time I ask that question," he said. And he was true to his word. Much to my dismay (and the dismay of the two or three people who were prepped), at the afternoon Confirmation mass he switched it up and asked about the four major prophets. Still, it happened once, and someone in a position to know told me that it was the first time anyone had ever answered this question the bishop has asked every year at every confirmation. And as the word is that the bishop is retiring this summer, I think that St. Mary's PSR is primed to go down in the history books as The Class that Knew the First 25 Popes. Extra credit to Tim P.!

I suppose I ought to say more about the sacrament itself, but I've always found that my encounters with the one-time sacraments are very human moments. At baptisms, the concern is holding the baby so that the water doesn't go up its nose. My own First Communion and Confirmation were moments not marked by any strong emotion or spiritual revelation. At my wedding, I was in agonies walking up the aisle with everyone looking at me (I hunched) and at the moment of the vows I had to concentrate on making myself look at Darwin instead of looking down. This Confirmation was no different. I prayed for the Holy Spirit to come upon the kids, of course, but much of the mass for me was taken up with juggling hymnals and trying to sight read the alto part, because our music ministry  is in a transition period and so I didn't know what we were singing until the day of.

This is one reason, I think, why the much-maligned Law is so valuable. We don't control our emotional responses to grace, but we can offer our obedience to God's commands. You don't know when you attend mass if you're going to have great consolations or spiritual dryness or just a run-of-the-mill experience -- and God's grace isn't determined by any of those experiences -- but you can be obedient and attend mass regardless of "what you get out of it". You can be obedient and go to confession and be forgiven, whether it's exciting or frightening or just something you do. God isn't constrained by our human experiences of him, and thank God for that.

We have two more classes left in the year, and I'd like to make them fun for the kids, but right now I'm taking a breather. Come, Holy Spirit.


Anonymous said...

Miraculous Prayer to the Holy Spirit

Holy Spirit, you who makes me see everything and shows me the way to reach my ideal, you who gives me the divine gift to forgive and forget all the wrong that is done to me and you who are in all instances of my life with me. I, in this short dialogue, want to thank you for everything, and affirm once more that I never want to be separated from you no matter how great the material desires may be. I want to be with you and my loved ones in your perpetual glory. To that end and submitting to God’s holy will, I ask form you… (mention your favour). Amen

This prayer should be said for 3 consecutive days. After the 3rd day, your sincere wish will be granted no matter how difficult it may be. Promise to offer thanksgiving by sharing it and expressing it on granting of your favour. The idea is to spread the wonder of the Holy Spirit.

GoldRush Apple said...

Question 1: How do you become a catechist? I heard that training is through one's local parish.

Question 2: Did you choose the grades you teach? How about RCIA?

Question 3: What led you to become a catechist?

mrsdarwin said...

1. I volunteered, and since catechists are few on the ground, the DRE was happy to have me. Training, schmaining!

2. For many years I tracked my oldest daughter in her classes. Then I stuck in 6th-7th grade for a few years, and last year I volunteered to teach Confirmation. Darwin and I did work with RCIA back when we were first married, but the RCIA team seems to have enough volunteers here, and the children's classes go begging.

3. God told me to. That sounds simplistic, but it comes down to: I felt the call to volunteer, and I didn't want to do it, and prayed that the cup might pass, but the nudge continued until I acted on it. Some years I've been let off the hook -- when I was pregnant with my sixth, I took the year off. However, with my seventh, I taught all year and felt okay.