This past Sunday we learned more about the Sacrament of Confirmation. We reviewed about the use of the holy oil called chrism. We learned more about how oil was used to show people were marked for a special purpose by God to be priests, prophets and kings, and how we echo that call through service and sacrifice (like priests), tell the truth even when it is not popular (like the prophets), and to be the protector of those who are given to us (like good kings).
We also learned that when you get confirmed that you will take the name of a saint. Often times, when a person changes their name, it marks a new stage in their life. St. Paul’s name used to be Saul. Abraham used to be named Abram. Young brides take the name of their husbands. Pope Francis name used to be Jorge. I encourage you to begin learning about the saints and finding one who you feel a real connection with.
What else did we talk about? We talked about that when we are Confirmed, we accept the responsibility for making our faith our own, and how we offer our lives for the faith. We talked about the martyrs, and read from our book about the children in China who kept their faith under torture. I told you about a couple of martyrs from Mexico when being Catholic was made illegal by the government. These included a priest named Fr. Miguel Pro who used disguises to avoid capture to continue and to continue giving the Sacraments to the people. We spoke about Bl. Jose Luis Sanchez del Rio, an 14 year old boy who kept his faith while the skin was carved off of his feet, who died saying “Vive Cristo Rey!” or Long Live Christ the King! We talked about the Christian refugees in Syria, and the very real suffering they endure daily because they would not deny Jesus. When we look at people like this, we begin to understand that we must take our faith very seriously and that is very much worth every effort to learn about our faith, and who Jesus is to us.
But there is another way that a Confirmed Catholic gives up his or her life. Our existence – that is, our time on earth – is actually our life as well, right? When you volunteer, when go to Mass, when you pray for someone, when you help someone younger, weaker, or sicker than you, when you obey your parents, you are offering up your life – your existence – for your faith. Our faith is how we follow Jesus. You are offering up a portion of your life in following Jesus. Perhaps you haven’t thought of it in that way…
They say that love can’t be measured. I say, love can be measured in sacrifice. For certain, your parents love you more than that cute boy or cute girl in school. You know this because you know they make sacrifices for you. When you see Jesus on the Cross, you can also be certain that He loves you, unconditionally, and that He holds absolutely nothing back. When we witness sacrifice, and grow to recognize and appreciate it over time, we just want to learn more.