This week our PSR children get to celebrate a variety of sacraments. Today, Sunday May 7th, at 1pm our 2nd graders will be celebrating their First Communion. And next Saturday, May 13th, at 1:30pm at the Cathedral Basilica our 8th graders will be celebrating their Confirmation.
Consider the 2nd graders first, as I think at their age they get a bit more excited about receiving the sacrament, and about anything. They are receiving their First Communion at this age because they have achieved the age of reason. This means that they can start to appreciate the difference between what it means that this is the Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ and not just some other food. They realize that they are being entrusted with something special that they didn’t have before, something very important and precious. They each probably have a slightly different understanding of this, as most of us do from each other also. I think we can easily be inspired by their understanding as at their age it can be a bit more simple and thus also pure, not confused with all the other things our minds and experiences can bring in, but rather more trusting and open to the meaning and gift that this is the Body and Blood of Christ. The more philosophy, theology, history and science we get can be helpful, but can also distract at times from our knowing through faith what the young more easily demonstrate.
The 8th graders are a bit different. They are receiving their Confirmation, the completion of their Sacraments of Initiation. Receiving and strengthening their gifts of the Holy Spirit that were first imparted on them in Baptism. They are getting older and more independent, we consider they need these gifts, especially now, as they gain and exercise more freedoms in their lives. We realize with those freedoms their lives are becoming more complicated and difficult decisions need to be made, important decisions that they can make out of selfish reasons, out of pressure from others, or out of love and respect for God, themselves, and others. It would be nice to have the simpler lives of 2nd graders at times, but we realize we need the philosophy, theology, history and science and those gifts of the Holy Spirit that can help us stay faithful and make the right decisions in our lives. As we recognize the 8th graders receiving their Confirmation we can be encouraged to be more open to those gifts of the Holy Spirit we have been given to help live out our lives.
Please pray for those receiving these sacraments next week, and be inspired by them to be more open to the gifts God has given us in these sacraments also.