Subtitled: On Being Salt and Light in a Bland, Shadowed World
Sometimes, when I am dropping my sons off at school in the morning, I will tell them “Salt and Light!”
They know, by now, that I am quoting the book of Matthew—“You are the salt of the earth; you are the light of the world”—and that I’m reminding them to be a good example to their friends.
(The other day I tried to shake things up a bit, saying “Doritos and Desk Lamp!” as they got out.)
(Joe shook his head as he grabbed his backpack. “Mom,” he said, “That makes absolutely no sense.”)
(What’s not to make sense? Doritos are the perfect metaphor for everything wonderful in the world.)
In any case, we know it’s not easy. We know that we need to stand apart from our culture; we know that we need grace in abundance. Grace in the form of the Seven Gifts of Spirit, grace in the form of the 12 Fruits, and grace from the sacrament of Confirmation!
I. Our First Confirmand
The day was cold and blustery, but that did not affect the mood in the Basilica. See all those smiles? The above is a group photo of Joe’s class from our parish. There were many, many other parishes with students getting confirmed that day and I’ll tell you, they ran those post-ceremony group shots like a well-oiled machine.
And then they promptly turned off most of the lights in the building.
See? Good thing we took some photos before the ceremony! Plus there were lights at the side of the church and that’s where we ended up taking most of our pictures.
It made me grimble-grumble, you know? Who turns off the lights when the building is still full of people? “It was like they wanted us to clear out or something!” I complained to my husband.
His response: “Ya think?”
Anyway, here is a much better shot of Joe and his sponsor, Mr. M.
Mr. M. teaches Catholic Doctrine at Joe’s school. He used to work in Catholic Radio, has four sweet & funny little kids, and—how cool is this?—his wife’s a doula.
In short, he is an awesome guy.
Joe was blessed to have him.
II. Various Pre-Ceremony Photos
I have to tell a super-quick story of how I willingly choose to make my life crazy. Two weeks prior to the confirmation, I decided—finally—what I wanted to give my son and my friend’s daughter. (I was her sponsor. Photos to come.)
I called my friend Tracy of Pinewood Castle—specifically, I called her husband—and asked if he could make them two of his “practically indestructible” (his words) and very beautiful (my words) rosaries. I told him that I did not expect him to complete the rosaries before the ceremony, but being Tracy’s husband…
He finished them the day before.
Providentially, Tracy was going to be downtown that Saturday at a group violin lesson for her kids. Could I fit in a trip to pick up the rosaries before driving over to the Basilica? Yes, (my husband winced as I told him my plans) yes, I think that I possibly could.
Here we are, then, in the lobby at their group violin lesson. Tracy looks beautiful; I look wild-eyed.
The Confirmation program at our church is rock solid. Joe received a school-year’s worth of quality formation and—bonus points—was in a group with several of his best friends.
Amy is one of them.
They have known each other for years.
That’s how long I’ve been blogging.)
Amy, in turn, asked me to be her sponsor, and I was greatly honored.
You see it’s only a matter of time before these kids outgrow me.
III. The Ceremony Itself
We were asked not to take photos during the ceremony, which frankly I found very liberating.
This is not to say that I obeyed entirely (I am a blogger, after all) but they were renewing their baptismal promises and it was just so beautiful.
IV. Post-Ceremony Family Photos
And so it came to pass that Joe was confirmed.
He was sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit, and we (his family) were filled with joy.
Filled with joy or giddy with fatigue? You tell me.
(You remember, perhaps, that my husband came straight from the campground that morning? In his defense, he did not take Joe, which might have had something to do with his wife’s wild eyes.)
My husband is a wise, wise man. He knows not to push a woman on the brink.
V. And in the end…
It goes without saying that there’s great uncertainty in life. My family is walking proof of that! Yet, there’s comfort—great comfort—in the gift of our faith.
We are called to be salt…we are called to be light…and we are called to all the love we can muster. I’m watching you, Joe, to see how you do!