‘Spirit’ Confirmation Programme 1.
Briefly, we’ll look at just two of the seven gifts of the Spirit – it’ll give us an idea of how important they are.
Perhaps during the week the parents – teachers too – might adapt or simplify my words and engage the children with the ideas I’m presenting.
Firstly, Wisdom; what’s that? Firstly, it’s a gift of the Holy Spirit. Therefore it doesn’t belong naturally to human nature. It’s a gift given by the Holy Spirit and when we receive it, we know (instinctive-like) that it’s in the spiritual life and not in health and wealth that we find lasting security. Those who don’t have the gift will naturally look for their security in everything from health to wealth.
Secondly, Understanding; what’s that? When we receive the gift of understanding we penetrate the truths of our faith. As we receive it we move from faith into certainty. Those who do not have the gift are always unsure, wobbly, blown this way and that, they lack conviction about God.
The gifts make a big, big difference. They’re synonymous with the spiritual journey into God (synonymous = equivalent in meaning, expressing the same idea). The gifts of the Spirit are the road into God.
Now, tell me, how many of you guys just want to get this part (Mass) over with?
Well, to be honest I was like that when I was your age. And I stayed like that through most of my teenage years.
Until one day in 1983, the 19th of July – I will never forget the day – I was at home with my father. There was a fire and tragically later that day my father died.
Now apart from the grief, something else happened. I started to ask serious questions about the meaning of life. That one event, and the questions it surfaced within me, changed the whole course of my life.
I believe we’re offering you answers to questions that most of you haven’t even started to ask. (I’m in favour of Confirmation at a later age!)
So the ‘Spirit’ team has produced a programme to give you a good experience of Confirmation in the hope that when (and if!) you do begin to ask the deeper questions, you might remember this positive experience of Confirmation and return to look in more detail.
Meanwhile, some things I’d like you to know and remember. I would like you to know that it’s in the spiritual life – the spiritual life is our life with God – that you will find true and lasting security.
If I could I’d love to spare you the futile effort of trying to find lasting security in this world, in just about everything from health to wealth.
I would like you to know that there’s no difficulty in life that can’t be overcome by spiritual growth.
I would like you to know that every challenge, every difficulty – even if it looks like there’s no way out – every suffering, every sickness is a call to spiritual growth; that it doesn’t have to end in meaningless despair.
Even if you make a complete mess of your life, I want you to know that the mess is nothing more than God’s way of calling you to spiritual growth, to do things differently, to do things his way.
No matter how many times you fall, no matter how many times you fail, remember, every fall, every failure, is God’s call to spiritual growth.
Finally, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, like Confirmation itself, like all the sacraments, belong to the spiritual life and it’s there – and only there – that we receive them.
So, do you have a spiritual life? Yes? No? No! I’m going to be really cruel to you; then what are you doing here?
Click the video links below for a summary of Pope Francis’ catecheses on the gifts of Wisdom and Understanding. (Credit: Rome Reports)