Do we truly care whether our young people, receive Confirmation?

confirmation

Confirmation or “Chrismation”, which must be understood in continuity with Baptism, to which it is inseparably linked. These two Sacraments, together with the Eucharist, form a single saving event called “Christian initiation” — in which we are inserted into Jesus Christ and become new creatures and members of the Church. This is why these three Sacraments were originally celebrated on one occasion, at the end of the catechumenal journey, normally at the Easter Vigil. The path of formation and gradual insertion into the Christian community, which could last even up to a few years, was thus sealed. One travelled step by step to reach Baptism, then Confirmation and the Eucharist.

We commonly speak of the sacrament of “Chrismation”, a word that signifies “anointing”. And, in effect, through the oil called “sacred Chrism” we are conformed, in the power of the Spirit, to Jesus Christ, who is the only true “anointed One”, the “Messiah”, the Holy One of God. The word “Confirmation” then reminds us that this Sacrament brings an increase and deepening of baptismal grace: it unites us more firmly to Christ, it renders our bond with the Church more perfect, and it gives us a special strength of the Holy Spirit to spread and defend the faith, … to confess the name of Christ boldly, and never to be ashamed of his Cross (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 1303).

For this reason, it is important to take care that our children, our young people, receive this sacrament. We all take care that they are baptized and this is good, but perhaps we do not take so much care to ensure that they are confirmed. Thus they remain at a midpoint in their journey and do not receive the Holy Spirit, who is so important in the Christian life since he gives us the strength to go on. Let us think a little, each one of us: do we truly care whether our children, our young people, receive Confirmation? This is important, it is important! And if you have children or adolescents at home who have not yet received it and are at the age to do so, do everything possible to ensure that they complete their Christian initiation and receive the power of the Holy Spirit. It is important!

Naturally it is important to prepare those being confirmed well, leading them towards a personal commitment to faith in Christ and reawakening in them a sense of belonging to the Church.

Confirmation, like every Sacrament, is not the work of men but of God, who cares for our lives in such a manner as to mould us in the image of his Son, to make us capable of loving like him. He does it by infusing his in us his Holy Spirit, whose action pervades the whole person and his entire life, as reflected in the seven gifts that Tradition, in light of the Sacred Scripture, has always highlighted. These seven gifts: I do not want to ask you if you remember the seven gifts. Perhaps you will all know them…. But I will say them on your behalf. What are these gifts? Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety and Fear of the Lord. And these gifts have been given to us precisely with the Holy Spirit in the Sacrament of Confirmation. I therefore intend to dedicate the catecheses that follow those on the Sacrament to these seven gifts.

When we welcome the Holy Spirit into our hearts and allow him to act, Christ makes himself present in us and takes shape in our lives; through us, it will be he — Christ himself — who prays, forgives, gives hope and consolation, serves the brethren, draws close to the needy and to the least, creates community and sows peace. Think how important this is: by means of the Holy Spirit, Christ himself comes to do all this among us and for us. That is why it is important that children and young people receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. — Papa Francis

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Has Christ been divided? (1 Cor 1:13)

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Of course, Christ was not divided. But we should recognize with sincerity and pain that our communities continue to live in division that is scandalous. Division among us Christians is a scandal. There is no other word: a scandal. “Each one of you,” St Paul wrote, “says, ‘I belong to Paul,” or ‘I belong to Apollos,’ or ’I belong to Cephas,’ or ‘I belong to Christ’” (1:12).

Even those who professed Christ as their leader were not applauded by Paul, because they used the name of Christ to separate themselves from others within the Christian community. But the name of Christ creates communion and unity, not division! He came to bring communion among us, not to divide us.

Baptism and the Cross are central elements of the Christian discipleship which we share. Division, however, weakens the credibility and effectiveness of our work in evangelization and risks stripping the Cross of its power (cf. 1 Cor 1:17).

Paul rebukes the Corinthians for their disputes, but he also gives thanks to the Lord “because of the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him with all speech and all knowledge” (1 Cor 1:4-5). These words of Paul are not a mere formality, but a sign that he sees primarily — and for this he sincerely rejoices — the gifts given by God to the community. The Apostle’s attitude is an encouragement for us and for every Christian community to joyfully recognize God’s gifts in other communities. Despite the suffering of division, which sadly still exist, let us welcome the words of St Paul as an invitation to sincerely rejoice for the graces God has given to other Christians. We have the same Baptism, the same Holy Spirit who gave us the Grace: let us recognize it and rejoice in it.

It is beautiful to recognize the grace with which God blesses us and, still more, to find in other Christians something we need, something that we could receive like a gift from our brothers and our sisters. The group from Canada who prepared the texts for this Week of Prayer did not invite communities to think about what they could give to their neighbour Christians, but urged them to meet with one another in order to understand what they all can receive each from the others. This requires something more. It requires much prayer, it requires humility, it requires reflection and continual conversion. Let us go forward on this path, praying for the unity of Christians, that this scandal lessens and that it may cease among us. – Papa Francis

Son of God Movie Review

Hardwired

Son of God Yesterday I was invited to Saddleback Church to preview the forthcoming movie Son of God , produced by the same people who created The Bible series for the History Channel last year, Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, who were both present for the screening.  I’d strongly recommend you put this on your list of movies to see when it releases on February 28th.

In terms of production value, it’s the best one of its genre.  The Jesus Film pales in comparison, looking almost like a homemade movie compared to Son of God.  The 1977 epic Jesus of Nazareth (over 6 hours long) was powerful for its time, but awfully hard to sit through.  The Passion of the Christ, which, coincidentally, released exactly 10 years ago on Feb. 25, 2004, did not tell the story of the life of Jesus, but really honed in on the pathos of his final week…

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God’s kingdom, is it so wonderful ??!

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“For the kingdom of God is not food and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.” – Romans 14:17

Imagine that you are closely watching God’s kingdom. There you met joyful angels, you felt the loving communications of saints and you saw the immense grace of God. As a human at this point there are two possibilities of actions. First possible action is that you may thirst for this heaven, adapt it and may recreate its experience for others. Second possible action is that  you may get jealous. You may feel awkward, irritated by seeing their unity and love and may act against heaven.

Now let us come back to our world, when we closely observe some families and fellowships in church, we may sense and feel the same righteousness, peace and joy of God’s kingdom. In reality we are closely watching God’s kingdom in-front us.

What do you feel when you see such wonderful families?
What do you feel when you see such wonderful fellowships?

That feeling will tell you where you are at the journey to heaven.

CENTRAL – AFRICA: HISTORY OF A CONFLICT (VI)

I think this is worth sharing to my friends.

Aid to the Church in Need

  For the final word in this series of five articles on Central Africa, we give you the words of Father Federico who will speak to us about an extraordinary man: Father Anastasio Roggero.

 


 Father Anastasio: the Soul of Carmel de Bangui

 Robert Lalonde, ACN Canada

Translated and adapted by AB Griffin, ACN Canada

 “Father Anastasio is the founder and the soul of this paradise that is the Carmel of Bangui.  He is more than twice my age and has triple the enthusiasm.  Since 1998, he has been living in our convent in Prague, but since 1975 his heart has been in the Central African Republic.  This gentle and smiling brother, always equipped with his camera, travels the world at a hundred kilometers an hour, from India to the United States, speaking well (this in 8 different languages) of we missionaries; it sounds just to me…

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