A Confirmation Reflection
I don’t recall where I first heard this quote, but it has stuck with me ever since. It is a quote that simply states, “What we do inside of the Church makes no difference unless it affects what we do outside of the Church.” I have repeated it and referred to the wisdom contained within it many times throughout my career in Catholic religious education. It is profound because it is another way to get at the foundational question, What is faith all about? It is an important question to answer at all the various stages of our faith journey, but I find it particularly pertinent around the Sacrament of Confirmation for both the candidates and those preparing them for the sacrament.
The truth is that our becoming fully initiated members of the Catholic Church isn’t just for the good of the Church—although it is most certainly that. It is also for the good of the world! Our faith is meant to be lived, rather than sheltered with only a certain group or compartmentalized to one day a week. The final words spoken at Mass were, at one time, “ite missa est,” which is Latin for “Go, you are sent!” The Eucharist is a strengthening for the real work of the Church, which is living faith in our everyday lives out in the world. Our participation as members of the Church and disciples of Jesus compels us to reach out beyond the Church.
The good news is that this message and focus resonates with young people. They are immensely interested in being part of positive change and working to make a difference in their local communities and in the world. Confirmation preparation is a perfect time to emphasize that our faith anchors us in the Church while also moving us outward beyond the Church in service and love for others.
Let’s release any remnants we may have of creating our Confirmation programs in a way that only proves to be burdensome to young people, their families, and sponsors. No more “We’ve got them one last time, so let’s make sure to pack everything in and demand even more.” It should not be a time of weighing people down; it should be a time of freeing people to recognize who God is calling them to be. Confirmation preparation should be dynamic, engaging, and inspiring!
Below is a music video that speaks beautifully to our call as people of faith to move outward and make a difference. I can almost envision it as an “advertisement” for signing young people up for Confirmation preparation. May it be an inspiration to all of us as we journey alongside those who are preparing to be confirmed and remind us that “What we do inside of the Church makes no difference unless it affects what we do outside of the Church.” So let’s get to work!