By Kari Quist
A group of our Year Six students are now preparing for Confirmation. Confirmation is the final Sacrament of Initiation; through Confirmation, these students will become full members of the Church. The sacrament will complete the graces that the children first received through Baptism. “Through the sacrament of Confirmation, [the baptised] are more perfectly bound to the Church and are enriched with a special strength of the Holy Spirit. Hence they are, as true witnesses of Christ, more strictly obliged to spread and defend the faith by word and deed" (CCC 1285).
Through Confirmation, these children will receive the call to evangelise and to bear the light of Christ in their day-to-day lives. The call to mission will present a challenge to these kids, just as it does to all Catholics. We live in a world that often rejects, and can be openly hostile, to the teachings of Christ. People can experience alienation, mockery, rejection, and much worse for sharing their faith. Despite that, we are extremely blessed to live in a country in which we are unlikely to face imprisonment, violence, and death for voicing our Christian faith. How can we embolden our youth to take up Christ’s call to “go and make disciples of all nations,” especially when we often struggle to do so ourselves?
1. Lead by example: We should be challenging ourselves to find ways to spread the Good News in our workplaces, with families and friends, when we are grocery shopping, etc. and we should discuss the challenges and triumphs of doing so with our children.
2. Daily practices of prayer and self-reflection: Prayer is essential to developing a close relationship with God and only through drawing closer to Him can we begin to recognise our sinfulness but also receive the hope and courage to make changes.
3. Receive strengthening through Mass and the sacraments: Weekly Mass attendance, regular reception of the Eucharist, and confession are essential to living out our missionary calling. Our children should be able to witness the transformative power of the sacraments in our own lives, which should increase their desire to receive them too.
4. Call on the Holy Spirit: The Holy Spirit is our Helper, Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor, Counsellor, and Strengthener. If we ask for His guidance and assistance, He will give it. If we allow Him to work in our lives, the Holy Spirit will give us the courage to evangelise and the wisdom to know what to say and when to say it.
5. Pick your battles: We are instructed to be “wise as serpents and innocent as doves” (Matt 10:16). We should help our youth identify the best and worst opportunities for evangelisation. After all, being responsive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit doesn’t mean abandoning prudence, quite the opposite, Counsel is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
We must all find ways to respond to Christ’s call to evangelisation. It is more than a suggestion, it’s a command that He gives all of His followers. If you feel a call to take a more active role in evangelisation, please contact the parish office and we can discuss some opportunities with you.