My children were confirmed last night!!
Children? Yes, I have many children. They say that when you're a mother, it's like your heart is walking around outside your body. I totally and utterly believe it, because when you're a teacher, it's like there are 20 pieces of your heart walking around on their own.
9 of them received the gifts of the Holy Spirit last night and became full members of the Church. Aaaaaaaaa-men! I am so proud of them.
The Gospel they read was Mark 4:1-20, the parable of the sower and the seeds. Listening to it once again in this context was striking. My kids have received the good seed; whether it will bear its fruit is not yet certain. Some of their souls may as yet be rocky, and they will certainly face the thorns of the world in the years to come. The Bishop spoke about the courage they need to face it all. They had 3 other strong priests before them as examples of this courage. "It can be done, with His help" is what we all want them to know. At least they know that we love them.
Walking over to the church from the staging area, I couldn't help but laugh a lot. God chooses to use the human to communicate the divine. "Why on earth would You want it this way?" I thought. God wants to speak to us in these little things that have reality within them; they point us to Him. The young men and women were in red robes, and walking in two lines, talking, joking, pushing one another, nervous and excited. They were about to enter into the sanctuary in which the Holy Spirit would enter their hearts in a new way and bring them all the gifts they would need for the challenges ahead. Could they possibly understand that? No. Could I? No way. The walk over was so human. So teenager. And yet the salvation of the whole world is played out in each of them. It is played out in you and me. Part of it may be our incapacity to "get it". If I could have seen the change in their souls, I probably would have disappeared (as Spice would say)
Parish life is where the rubber hits the road. It's where all my theological studying comes into contact with actual lived experience. I can't even say how grateful I am to have been adopted into this holy parish family. Our pastor is a saint; thus his people are being made holy. And it's hard. Giussani talks about this in Why the Church? The Church is the scandal of the Incarnation all over again. God communicating His life through these people? How can this be? I know that guy, he's not holy... and that woman, man, she drives me crazy. There are priests who abuse children. There are Catholics teaching heresy regularly. Yep. Sure enough, this is the way God has chosen to reveal Himself to us.
Don't ask me why.