A cradle Catholic, my confirmation into the church was less than beautiful. Forced and ugly would really be my interpretation; even all these years later. My dress at least was pretty.
My mother had attended a Catholic private school for her education; a school at which my maternal grandmother taught. She believed the faith and wanted me to embrace the teachings of the church, but was unwilling to cram the religion down my throat to the degree she felt she had experienced. My paternal grandmother had no such qualms and actually told me it was her death wish that I be confirmed in order to get me to cooperate. The end result of my family’s wishes and my teenage angst was that I did indeed get confirmed, but I pissed and moaned so much about the weekly trips and the class work to learn about the church that I really didn’t learn much of anything. Oh adolescence! If only we could turn back those pages – or at least delete a few scenes 🙂
Fast forward a decade and I am in need of a car. The black Chevy Malibu my grandmother drove during her last able bodied days becomes my vehicle. Above the driver side seat, hanging from a pearl headed pin is her confirmation medal. She always kept the miraculous medal there in remembrance and as a prayer for safe travels in life. For the additional years I have this car, that medal stays right where she attached it working on my heart far more than her “death wish” ever could. Every time I got in that car, there was my reminder, my evidence. My grandmother truly believed. Her reverence to the Catholic church wasn’t out of of fear or tradition or obligation, but out of love and faith. That was what she and my mother wanted for me; not to join an organization or be socially Christian, but to truly accept the heavenly Father as my Savoir. That medal still hangs above my driver side seat, its reflecting light often catching the interest of my little ones in the back of my secondhand, but much appreciated minivan. Granted I won’t be using the “death wish” technique with my kids and grand kids, but I do truly hope and pray that every time they see my grandmother’s miraculous medal, they too are affirmed with love, compassion, and confidence in Jesus Christ.
Dear Heavenly Father-
Please ensure those joining the church during holy week be able to do so for the right reasons, free from guilt and fear. Please let them accept you as their Savior with pure hearts and minds and motivations guiding them to seek your grace.