Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Baptism, Confirmation and Reconciliation

I have a[ guest blogger today.  It is Mr. Paul Hanlon, o.p.   He writes on Baptism, Confirmation and Reconciliation.

Baptism, Confirmation and Reconciliation are woven into our lives.  We are baptised and confirmed only once yet we continue to receive the gifts and live out these two sacraments all the days of our lives, with reconciliation as our spiritual health care.

In addition to the gifts of the Holy Spirit that the Catholic Church cites, CCC 1830-32, we should recognize two other gifts, courage and the freedom to speak of God. [Courage is the virtue that we all need if any of the other virtues are to flourish.  The courage to speak belongs to every Christian by virtue of our baptism, not just a select few.]  [The greatest injury to this Courage, this Freedom, is silence, if you are spiritually silent in action and word, you are in a sense, Dead,] and "the dead do not praise the Lord, nor do any that go down into silence."  Ps 115:17

Baptism is a one time sacrament with many long-lasting gifts.  Confirmation is a one time sacrament with a life-long duration.  The time given us to grow in faith and understanding, both necessary for our journey and part of our daily lives, through faith we gain understanding and from understanding our faith is strengthened. [Confirmation growth should include a deep understanding and respect for words and actions.  What you say can build up or tear down, instill confidence or the lack of it, you can build community or division, fasten friendship and trust or breed hatred and suspicion.  In short, words are so powerful they themselves elevate speaking to a moral act that carries a responsibility with it.]  Confirmation empowers us to look at our lives and actions objectively to assess our progress

Timothy Radcliffe, op sees [Progress as, "Not merely forward movement, the ground covered or the achievement.  Progress must include what you leave in your wake.  If the person, place or situation is the same or worse after you have been there, where is the progress?]  [James Mawdsley wrote, "Mankind is one body.  We cannot move forward except together.  We cannot leave parts of our body behind.]

[Courage refuses isolation, it cannot be selfish or solitary.]  It demands community and it is in community that we find the strength and support to persevere.  [Jesus, Who persevered always, did not give up when they taunted Him 'Come down from the Cross', not even the devil or our ingratitude could make Jesus give up doing God's Will.]

Had Jesus come down from the cross we would have no salvation and no Sacrament of Reconciliation.  Reconciliation heals our wounded relationship with God, community and others, it corrects our course that we can continue on to our ultimate goal.

If the gifts of courage and freedom to speak of God are born in baptism, matured in confirmation and life, then most assuredly they are healed, strengthened and fully realized through reconciliation.  At some point [courage may demand that we lose what is genuinely good for the sake of what is better.]
Do we, with patient endurance, suffer quietly an injustice or injury done to us?  Or do we embrace courage and forgive?  Can you?  Can I?  Can we cut off the price tag of forgiveness.  It is costly; it cost us, not the person being forgiven.  Forgiveness means that justice may not be fulfilled.  It means relaxing our death grip on the pain we feel.  It means letting go completely.  Can we not count the cost to us but rather see the benefit to the other?  As you have done for others, so it shall be done for you.

          Baptism grafts us the branch to Jesus the vine.
          Confirmation nurtures the branch to maturity.
          Reconciliation is the necessary pruning that keeps us healthy spiritually.

Behavior is the mirror in which everyone shows their true image.

Bracketed text sources:
What is the Point of Being a Christian?  Timothy Radcliffe, O.P.
Sing a New Song  Timothy Radcliffe, O.P.
What is the Point of Being a Christian as quoted by James Mawdsley
What is the Point of Being a Christian? Timothy Radcliffe, O.P. quoting St. Catherine of Siena
CCC 1830-32  Gifts/Fruits of the Holy Spirit

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