Confirmation treated more like a qualification in our culture?


#1

Maybe it is just me, but Confirmation comes across too often as a qualification instead of a Sacrament. And to clarify, I’m not saying I see it as not being presented as a Sacrament; it most definitely is. But the majority of the time when I hear somebody speaking of Confirmation in adulthood, it is because they need to be confirmed in order to do a certain thing in the church.

I can’t help but compare it to a bachelor’s degree. Some businesses would not even look any further on my resume if it said I didn’t at least have a bachelor’s degree, even though I could be the most qualified person for that job. And likewise, the Catholic Church would say I am not qualified to be a Godparent, an RCIA sponsor, etc. unless they see that I was confirmed on my baptismal records. And then there is John Doe sitting next to you in the pew, who was confirmed and eligible for that role… who also goes up during communion and thinks he’s receiving only a symbol… who thinks abortion is a choice… who is all for the death penalty. And Jim Doe is sitting next to him… who has yet to be confirmed… who is completely on fire for Jesus… who goes to confession… goes to daily Mass… who is a wonderful example of Christ… see where I’m going?

And I think the way Confirmation is set up in religious education classes (at least in most places in the US) makes it come across that way as well… once you’re at a certain grade level, it’s time to learn about Confirmation and get confirmed that year. It is turned into a subject in religious education, albeit an important one. Is it too much of a stretch to say that isn’t much different than a high schooler finding out he is taking geometry this year, but his teacher and his parents are placing extra importance on it, so you figure it must mean something? I use that comparison because too many people forget about Confirmation like other subjects they learned in high school.

I don’t know… maybe I’m just analyzing it too much. But as somebody who skipped out on Confirmation in my high school days, I have now been blessed with a much greater understanding of my faith in the last few years and just absolutely in love with the Church. And to see my beautiful bride going through RCIA and approaching her Confirmation and First Communion, it is the most amazing thing to witness. She will be receiving these sacraments and joining in the fullness of faith that we are blessed to be a part of. But sooner or later I will need to get that “Confirmation stamp” that I missed out on in high school, or else I could be missing out on other things. And if it wasn’t treated like that by the Church, I would be more passionate about receiving it. My mom hasn’t helped either, as she has suggested several times to go back and ‘get it done’. I feel compelled to wait until I feel Confirmation presented to me as 100% Sacrament and 0% anything else. But I can’t just go to get it done… I feel like that is for the wrong reasons. Hopefully the time is soon. Until then, I will pray about it. :gopray2:

Do others feel the same about restructuring how Confirmation is presented?


#2

I teach adult confirmation classes and the first week we meet I always ask people why they’ve come. The answers are all across the board and they’re all beautiful.

Sometimes people have been asked to be a godparent or RCIA sponsor and found out they couldn’t because they’re not confirmed. That can be a wake-up call that they haven’t taken their faith seriously enough.

A lot of people come because they want to be examples to their children. How can they raise their children in the faith if they didn’t care about it enough to be confirmed.

Sometimes family members have shown the people how important it is to receive the sacraments. I’ve had women come through RCIA who were baptized at the Easter Vigil. They inspired their husbands to complete their own sacraments of initiation. In another case one man was confirmed one year and his wife was confirmed the following year.

I had another woman in class who said she was turning 50 that year and decided that her gift to herself for such a significant birthday was to prepare for confirmation.

The Holy Spirit works in all kinds of ways to bring people to the sacraments. Whatever their reasons, it’s wonderful to see them responding to those promptings and opening themselves to receiving God’s grace.


#3

Better seen as a qualification than a graduation!:eek:

I do understand where you are coming from, though. It would be nice if our roles in the church could be based on what is in our hearts, rather than a certificate of some kind. But at the same time, I must argue the idea of sacramental prep being "just another subject". As so many kids today see confirmation as being more of a rite of passage than a gift from God Himself, proper catechesis is vital. Perhaps this is part of the reason those "rules" exist. Or perhaps it is simply that those roles are designated only for those who have completed their initiation. None of us are worthy, but God alone can judge the heart. We can only humbly submit ourselves to the authority and wisdom of Holy Mother Church.


#4

#5

[quote="ChrisIsMyName, post:1, topic:288956"]
I don't know... maybe I'm just analyzing it too much. But as somebody who skipped out on Confirmation in my high school days, I have now been blessed with a much greater understanding of my faith in the last few years and just absolutely in love with the Church. And to see my beautiful bride going through RCIA and approaching her Confirmation and First Communion, it is the most amazing thing to witness. She will be receiving these sacraments and joining in the fullness of faith that we are blessed to be a part of. But sooner or later I will need to get that "Confirmation stamp" that I missed out on in high school, or else I could be missing out on other things. And if it wasn’t treated like that by the Church, I would be more passionate about receiving it. My mom hasn't helped either, as she has suggested several times to go back and ‘get it done’. I feel compelled to wait until I feel Confirmation presented to me as 100% Sacrament and 0% anything else. But I can’t just go to get it done... I feel like that is for the wrong reasons. Hopefully the time is soon. Until then, I will pray about it. :gopray2:

Do others feel the same about restructuring how Confirmation is presented?

[/quote]

I was confirmed when I was 46, which was 38 years after my first communion. You do need to get it done.

Remember that the Eastern Catholic Churches confirms infants. They call it crismation. Infants were confirmed prior to recieving first communion in the early Church. Confirmation of teenagers, years after first communion, is a relatively recent development in the Church.

Waiting until the sacrament is presented to you in the way you prefer is not the point. The point is to avail yourself of the sacrament, as a gift from God given to us through his Holy Church, as soon as you can. We are beggars at the fountain of God's mercy and shouldn't have expectations about how the sacraments are presented to us.

Our church is not perfect. The priests, deacons and RICA teachers are not there to ensure that we have the perfect spiritual experience. That is what meditation on the Holy Scriptures and prayer is for.

Confirmation is your personal participation in Pentacost. Before Pentacost, the disciples were locked in the upper room out of fear. After Pentacost they spoke out boldly. Peter was not afraid to speak out in the name of Jesus in front of the Sanhedrin who could have sentanced him to death. Stephen spoke out in the name of Jesus and was not even afraid to die. That is what confirmation is. It is your personal participation in that power and strenghth given to the disiples by the Holy Spirit on Pentacost, so that you can speak out boldly in the name of Jesus, without fear, without even fear of death. You need that.

Forget about what other people think and believe. How pleasing someone else's soul is to God is none of our business, and we have no idea what God will do in their life next week, next month, or fifteen years from now. Jesus promised that both wheat and weeds would grow in his Church and told us that he would figure it out in the end. Our job is to live a life of virtue, and and of prayer, and to be always calm and at peace, so that people can see how we live and ask us how we can be so joyous and at peace, and ask us how they can be like us.

You already have a wonderful understanding of the faith and it seems as if God has given you a vibrant spirituality, the gift of his presence in your life. Bring that to your confirmation - God will do the rest.

-Tim-


#6

Thanks so much for all of your replies. Especially to Tim… I think you really put it in perspective.

There were a couple comments on saying that I shouldn’t worry about what other people think or feel, and I guess I didn’t word that well enough because that is not my worry. My worry is that from the outside looking in, it looks like the Church looks at it’s members by the stamps on their cards instead of their hearts.

But I suppose all of my ‘issues’ really have no concern with my journey to Confirmation. They are two separate categories and I should really learn to separate them… perhaps I could say one is micro and the other is macro. :thumbsup:

God bless you all and thanks for your time.


#7

Well, in one respect, I think you are really on to something.

Confirmation is indeed a sacrament. But, sometimes the sacrament is viewed as secondary to a prerequisite for joining the church, and is therefore withheld until some sort of subjective evaluation of instruction or catechesis somehow satisfies what is viewed as essential for coming to full membership in the Church.

The unintended consequence of using Confirmation as a Church entry requirement instead of the grace giving sacrament it was intended to be is that catechumen, neophytes, and catechists can come to view Confirmation as completion of the conversion process, forgetting that conversion (the rejection of sin, and turning to God) is an ongoing, never ending process of continual new beginnings.

As in high school graduation, we are reminded that the graduation ceremony is called “commencement” because it marks a beginning and not an end of a lifelong process.

With that thought in mind, perhaps we do detract away from the sacrament and make confirmation an obstacle rather than a blessing.

Perhaps, after discernment, if a person decides in their heart to follow Christ, and desires the additional baptismal graces offered by confirmation, they should be confirmed without regard to a list of pre-requisites.

Invitations should go freely to those wanting to enter the Body of Christ, instead of picking and chosing who can come in and when like bouncers at a trendy niteclub.

Peace


#8

:shrug: And where is this happening?


#9

Yes, you are.

Nope. Time to get confirmed. You will receive many graces from it.


#10

Thanks to Neo for the insight as well. :slight_smile:


#11

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