“What if this year we were to let the Holy Spirit turn us into people of overflowing fullness?” Brother Roger of Taizé
I celebrated Confirmation in fifth grade. The thing I remember most about it was the clothes. Previous classes at our Catholic school had worn red robes. For reasons that are still fuzzy to me, this tradition was overturned in favor of the girls wearing red and white outfits of their choosing and boys wearing white shirts and red ties. There was a minor kerfuffle among the parents over the decision but I was happy with it. I got a new outfit out of the whole thing.
The other thing I remember about Confirmation was learning about the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. There was something magical about receiving such a treasure trove of spiritual insight. What I had yet to learn was that they were far from magical nor were they instantaneous. Instead, they unfold in our lives, growing as we mature in faith and experience. Gifts that keep on giving.
Reflect for a moment on each one: knowledge wisdom, counsel, fortitude, understanding, piety, and awe (fear of the Lord). Cultivating just one of them is a lifetime task. Imagine incorporating all seven into your life! Then picture the entire circle of those endowed with such gifts putting them to use for the good of all the world. The fruit of the Holy Spirit would emerge in short order – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).
This isn’t a pipe dream. These are gifts given through God’s abundant grace. Our task is to receive, embrace, and allow them to open our hearts and hands. To use them in lavish fashion and encourage others to discover them in themselves. To become people of such overflowing fullness that we’ll attract others who long for the same gifts. What a magnificent way to confirm the faith we hold in the mercy of God and the hope we have in the risen Christ.
Reverence or awe is one of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit that invites us to view the world through eyes of wonder and awe. Download Sadlier’s Catholic Identity Link for Families and use it to deepen appreciation for this wonderful gift.
Understanding is one of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit most needed in our world. Download my Prayer for Understanding and share it in your home or parish.