This is a second reflection on the Word on Fire series, “Why the Church Matters.” If you think it’s valuable, I hope you’ll share it with others.
Less than two years after my Confirmation, my wife and I married, and we honeymooned in Italy. We were in Rome for three days (not enough time to see all the cool stuff there…), and we got to see the stained glass window in St. Peter’s that depicts the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (the one included with this post).
When I was confirmed nearly two years before that moment, I grinned from ear to ear because I knew that my soul was different than it ever had been before. But, I didn’t know why.
I am sure that my wonderful teachers of the faith told me. I am also sure that I was too green in things of faith and religion to understand fully. My soul was different because my Confirmation was the moment that the Holy Spirit would be poured out on me in a new and powerful way. My soul was different because, at that moment, I wasn’t only becoming fully Catholic; it was different because I was being initiated into the mission of the Apostles. I was being set on the same path as St. Peter, St. John, St. Paul, and countless other preachers, teachers, and missionaries throughout the rich history of the Church. I was being prepared to live and make history in my own era.
That’s what Confirmation is for each and every one of us: initiation into a powerful dynamic that makes history. Each and every one of us are called to make that history, right where we are. We are called to be and do something unique for building up and extending the Body of Christ in this world!
How do we do that? Specifically, it is by the spiritual gifts, the charisms, that God has gifted to us. Each of us is given gifts to be effective and fruitful apostles and disciples, right where and when we exist. None of us is called to be exactly the same as St. Peter, St. Paul, St. Francis of Assisi, or St. Teresa of Calcutta. I am called to be St. Derek; and you are called to be St. Fill-in-the-Blank. It is incumbent upon each of us to learn what our gifts are, and how they can be effective in the mission of the Church. That’s the recipe for success in the Church’s mission, and fulfillment in our own lives.
Now, let’s go be apostles!