Friday, October 26, 2012

Fortitude from the Holy Spirit

Recently, my niece’s teenage daughter received the Sacrament of Confirmation and she, as well as the family, was very excited to receive it.  That got me to reflecting about the Sacrament of Confirmation and what it means.  I think Confirmation represents fortitude given to us by the Holy Spirit to defend, protect, and evangelize as well as to give us the peace of the Lord.

We all can understand how the Apostles and disciples of Jesus felt after He ascended into heaven after being with Him for some 3 years.  Can you imagine - they had been with the Son of God for that time and He gave them comfort, wisdom, strength and purpose; and, then, He was gone?  We can imagine their uncertainty, fears, anxiety and confusion over what they should do next.  Jesus promised them the Holy Spirit who did come upon them on Pentecost. 
This gave them the fortitude, strength and purpose to spread the Gospel and they did so immediately going out on the street and converting many people to Christianity.  Within a few years, Christians faced the test of ostracization and persecution not only in the Roman Empire but, also, in other places where they went to spread the gospel.  But, fortunately, they had the fortitude of the Holy Spirit to help them.

I think of the fortitude that all of us need to be Christians in the contemporary world.  I think of the challenges that young teenagers face from society as well as their peers to stay strong in their faith.
Do we demonstrate our Christian faith in the smallest of things such as saying grace before meals in public and making the sign of the cross? 

Or, are we embarrassed to do so?  But, we do condone public displays of affection to others.  So, why not public displays of affection to our Lord?  One of my very favorite sayings comes from St. Francis of Assisi to his followers who asked him what they should do when he told them to go out into the streets and villages.  He said, “(p)reach the Gospel!  If necessary, use words.” 

In our daily lives we not only need the peace of the Lord but we, also, need the fortitude to live as practicing Christians.  We are inundated by all sorts of temptations on an unprecedented scale as a result of modern technology.  So, we need this fortitude and comfort offered by the Holy Spirit just as much as the early Christians but in a different way in order to avoid temptation and sin but, also, to evangelize and spread the Gospel without words.

Let me know what you think.

Let the light of our Lord shine upon you!

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