The Holy Spirit is Active in our Lives
Jun 13, 2019
I was confirmed in fourth grade. The teaching of the time was with the onset of the Holy Spirit I would become a soldier for Christ. To punctuate this idea first the bishop would anoint me with Chrism Oil and then he would tap me on my cheek as the first “assault” in defending the faith. This teaching has changed over time as we have moved away from the idea that somehow we have to defend our faith against those who would attack us. (I think the attackers at that time were Protestants.)
A couple of years before I was ordained (probably 1980) the Church published the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) and began teaching that this was the way to bring someone into the Church. It restored the placement of Confirmation to the second stage of catholic initiation. One is first baptized, then confirmed, and finally as one who is fully initiated one receives Communion. The Acts of the Apostles tells several stories of people who were baptized but had not yet been confirmed when they were filled with the Holy Spirit.
When I was confirmed I expected that something should change within myself. In the days following confirmation I was disappointed because I did not see any dramatic changes in my life. As I grew in my faith and felt called to priesthood, I began to realize that the Holy Spirit had been active in me throughout my life. The Holy Spirit made it easy to see myself as one who lived in service of the Church. My sense is that this is how the Holy Spirit works in each of us, guiding the choices we make in ways that build up the Church. We need married couples and their children if the Church is to grow. We need those who want to teach the faith and those who want to be part of the liturgy. It is all a part of God making himself known in the world through our activities. St. Paul, writing to the Corinthians (1Cor 13) reminds them (and us) that we all belong to the same body and we are all filled with the same Spirit of God.