The Yeses That Come Later in Life

I was 14 when I was confirmed. I knew it was an important decision in my life, but was too young to understand it completely.

BY: Therese Borchard


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I was fourteen years old when I celebrated my Confirmation--old enough to know that this was an important decision in my life, yet young enough not to fully understand it. I liked the fact that I was in charge of picking my own "sponsor"--a witness to the sacrament and, in the best scenario, a spiritual guide--unlike in Baptism, when my parents assigned two people with whom I had no real connection. The sacrament of Confirmation uses two primary symbols or gestures--anointing with chrism and laying on of hands--to represent the Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles fifty days after Easter. We read about this holy event in the Book of Acts:

When the day of Pentecost had come, [the disciples] were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. (Acts 2:1-4)

In the sacrament of Confirmation, believers are anointed with the gifts of the Holy Spirit--wisdom, understanding, knowledge, piety, fortitude, counsel, and fear of the Lord--so to be able to continue Jesus' mission on earth. As I understand the sacrament of Confirmation, that one day of anointing--that one day of agreeing to spread God's good news on earth--represents a lifetime of saying yes. The yeses that have come later in life have been just as important--possibly even more important--than the first one, because they were accompanied by a deeper understanding of what saying yes to God entails. I am grateful to the woman in the whirlpool for reminding me that I agreed to be Jesus' advocate in this world fifteen years ago, and that commitment remains today and tomorrow and the next day.

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