“For I know the plans I have for you. They are plans for good and not evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
Sometimes you are asked to do something that you are honored to do but feel a tad inadequate in fulfilling. That was me a few months ago when my dear friend Ana’s son Max asked me to be his Confirmation sponsor. I love that family dearly but I couldn’t help but think, “Me? I’m so not worthy!”
A strong but full of laws life-long Catholic, I knew I brought to the table a deep faith and sound knowledge of our sometimes complicated Catholic convictions, but what was this mom of a true girly-girl going to do with a high school boy…a high school boy who is not into sports?!
As they say, God works in mysterious ways and Max’s path to Confirmation was as powerful for me as I hope it was for him. I grew in my convictions and the power of God and as I told my daughter, doing so made me feel wanted and loved. I am forever grateful for having been chosen by Max. He is an amazing young man. Extremely bright, a talented musician, unpretentiously handsome, and wittingly funny, Max was a joy getting to know better and to share my faith with.
As a Confirmation sponsor I accepted a special role and responsibility that is considered an honor in our church. It truly was a wonderful adventure to spiritually walk with Max and help him see the gifts he has been given and the gifts that make up our faith.
Confirmation is the Holy Sacrament during which one confirms his or her Catholic faith, develops one’s relationship with God, strengthens us as disciples, and deepens our belonging in the Catholic faith community. Throughout the months-long Confirmation process, the Gifts of the Holy Spirit are discussed at length, and without getting into too much detail, they are: knowledge, wisdom, understanding, fear of the Lord, fortitude, piety, and counsel. The Fruits of the Holy Spirit are also studied, which include charity, joy, peace, meekness, fidelity, gentleness, goodness, patience, and self-control.
During our “Night of Reflection,” I was asked by his Confirmation teachers to tell Max which of these I see in him. I see them all, but I love the joy he has for life and the immense knowledge and wisdom he has been blessed with. It is my hope though, that he also demonstrates meekness and humility as I don’t ever want him to be “that guy” who is so smart but so annoying…and I told him so!
The pageantry of Confirmation is a centuries old Catholic tradition. Bishop Joe Vasquez said the mass and all in attendance were touched by the ceremony. Sponsors sat with their Confirmands and I couldn’t help but feel so blessed to be among them. I remember watching at one point as our Hispanic Bishop along with our African pastor and Indian priest presided over the consecration and thinking, “this is truly how God would want it…all races involved and praising him as one.” It gave me chills.
So did much of the mass. When it was time to walk with Max up the aisle, behind him and my hand on his right shoulder, for the Bishop’s blessing and anointing, I struggled to hold back both tears and pride. I felt honored, I felt loved, and I felt accomplished. I had done it and I will forever cherish the experience.
It doesn’t end here though, as I plan to be in Max’s life forever. I hope to be a good example of our Catholic faith for him and hope he knows he can count on me to be there for him always. Just like God is for all of us.