Taken from ‘The Echo’, a monthly bulletin of the catechists of St Joseph’s, Scarborough, Tobago.
Speak Lord, your servant is listening! These familiar words of scripture, taken from the First Book of Samuel, are particularly apt in light of our parish celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation, on Friday, January 15.
It was indeed a wonderful way to begin the New Year for the 35 young people who were anointed with chrism and sealed with the Holy Spirit through the ministry of the archbishop. This sacrament increases the graces they received in baptism and prepares them to live as full-fledged members of the Catholic Church by uniting them more firmly to Christ and increasing the gifts of the Holy Spirit in them.
God’s purpose for our lives
In his homily, His Grace stressed the importance of the young people recognising and living out God’s purpose for their lives. Since no-one can live out our unique purpose for us, it is imperative that we seek out that purpose in constant prayer, and that we listen and obey all the promptings of the Holy Spirit. This is not easy for adults, let alone teenagers, when there are so many different voices clamouring for attention!
It is only through a life of earnest prayer that any of us can hope to discern God’s voice speaking to us: “Speak Lord, your servant is listening!”.
Young people need the wisdom of the Holy Spirit to help them choose their friends, their subjects for CXC/CAPE, their careers and especially their life partners!
But that discipline of prayer must be cultivated in the home. If parents are not people of prayer, how will our youth ever learn the ways of God? Parents therefore have a serious responsibility to nurture the spirit of prayer in their children and to lead not only by word, but also by example.
Come and see
Continuing in the theme of answering God’s call, the weekend’s gospel spoke of two disciples of John who, on seeing Jesus, started following Him and asked “Rabbi, where do you live?” “Come and see” was Jesus’ gracious reply, “so they went and saw where he lived and stayed with him the rest of that day”.
We were further told that Andrew, one of the two disciples, met his brother Simon (Peter) the next day and told him “We have found the Messiah,” then “he took his brother to Jesus”.
Isn’t that exactly what our 35 young disciples are called to do? Having answered God’s call to receive the graces of Confirmation and having made a commitment to spend quality time with God in prayer, they now have a mission to bring others to Jesus! Indeed, that is the mission of every one of us baptised and confirmed Catholics!
This is truly God’s fundamental purpose for our lives. How we live out that purpose will obviously depend on our unique circumstances and our particular gifts.
Let us pray that our recently confirmed young people will grow in wisdom and in the discipline of prayer, so that they will forever sing with the psalmist: “Lord, here I am, I come to do your will!”.