And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”John 20:22
It’s been almost 5 years since I made my Confirmation, and it’s honestly one of my fondest memories. Getting Confirmed was something I looked forward to since I made my first Holy Communion. I knew that after getting Confirmed, I would be a full member of the Church. I’d be an adult who’d have to take her faith into her own hands. Consequently, I took my Confirmation classes seriously.
I remember on the very first day of class, one of our priests gave us a word of advice and said something that I’ll never forget. “If you don’t want to get Confirmed, don’t get Confirmed.” He explained to us that Confirmation was a big deal, and we shouldn’t get Confirmed because someone else, like our parents, wants us to. For three years, I participated in class, went on retreats, and did service hours, as we were required to do. I also started praying more often, and I went to Confession a few days prior to my Confirmation. I did all of these things because I took Confirmation seriously. I wanted to be open to receiving the Holy Spirit, and I wanted to be the best soldier of Christ as possible.
I could go on and on about the struggles that I overcame and the joys that I experienced throughout those three years of classes. I could go into detail about the beautiful Mass and how it felt to be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit, but I’ll write more about that in another blog post.
In hindsight, I’m glad that I took my Confirmation so seriously. I’m glad that I realized the gravity of this Sacrament of Initiation. If I had treated it as “graduation” from the Church, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
When I went to college, I knew that it would shake my faith if I wasn’t proactive about it. I knew that I had to be responsible and independent enough to stay active in my faith because no one else would do it for me. If you’ve been keeping up with Radiant with Joy for a while, you know how the story goes. If you’re new, (Welcome!) I found a thriving faith community through SRU’s Newman Center. There, I not only received the Sacraments regularly, but I also improved my prayer life and grew in virtue with several other college students on fire for their faith. These people not only became some of my best friends, but also my family
(Click here to read My Second Home, The Newman Center!)
Of course, my faith journey hasn’t always been easy. There have been dry periods and times where I’ve failed. I’ve had my share of struggles, including frequent prayer slumps and spiritual comparison that ate me alive, but the Lord helped me through them all. He continually, gently, guided me back to him and kept making his presence known. He never let me forget how beloved I am to him, which helped me persevere in my relationship with him. As the widely quoted Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” He helped me to stay faithful to him, especially when it was hardest.
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I look around and see young adults who were Confirmed and no longer practice. I talk to students who say they were “raised Catholic,” as if it was so long ago. My heart breaks a little more with every story of falling away that I hear. I can’t help but look at myself and the person I’m talking to, and wonder what the difference was. Why am I still Catholic while so many people aren’t Catholic anymore?
I think the reasons why I’m still Catholic are slightly different than the reasons why I am Catholic. I’m Catholic because I was born, Baptized, and raised Catholic, and I’m still Catholic because I’m Confirmed and I’m still growing in my faith. I’m Catholic because I believe in the True Presence of the Eucharist, and I’m still Catholic because I long for the intimacy with Christ that the Eucharist offers. I’m Catholic because I was learned Scripture and the Church’s teachings, and I’m still Catholic because I believe them and I live them out. I’m Catholic because I believe Christ is my Savior, and I’m still Catholic because I live every day for him.
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