16 January 2023
A very happy 2023 to you and your family.
If you haven’t already done so, please register your child for Confirmation. Registration Forms are available on the parish website stsenansenniscorthy.ie and from the school and the parish office. Please return completed forms to the parish office as soon as possible.
Last year I prepared an on-line home-based preparation programme for Confirmation. While I prepared it with Confirmation in mind it is really a map of the path to intimacy with God. Follow the steps I’ve outlined over the long-haul and intimacy with God will follow. This year we will be using the programme again.
The pieces (or sessions) will be available on-line and in hard copy. The on-line pieces will be available from Monday January 23rd on the parish website and hard copies will be distributed through the school.
It is important to note that in the first place the pieces are directed to the attention of the adults – only then to the children. I encourage the adults to consider each piece and then to share it with their child(ren) in an age-appropriate manner; use your own words.
The programme is based on two fundamental spiritual truths.
Firstly, Gods absolute non-negotiable respect for human freedom: God will never breach our personal space without a trusted and proven invitation.
Secondly, we invite God into our lives through prayer – prayer is the invitation – and without prayer God remains outside our personal space. In our time this truth has been almost completely lost and all the good works in the world will not replace prayer as the key to intimacy with God.
Since God respects human freedom – so absolutely – there are no built-in mechanisms in the programme to establish the level of engagement. In other words, the programme itself respects these two spiritual truths.
So, unless the children use their freedom to invite God into their lives – by living the sessions in an age-appropriate manner – God will leave them to themselves, and Confirmation will produce little fruit.
Huge effort can be placed into Confirmation and all sorts of religious programmes but unless human freedom is used in this way there will be little or no spiritual return.
I believe our experience of Confirmation in recent years reflects these spiritual truths. I can’t stress this enough: God’s respect for human freedom is absolute and he will not breach our personal space without invitation, without prayer over the long haul.
The only difference between you (or me) and Padre Pio is the amount of time spent in prayer and the quality of that prayer. The only difference between the many who are called and the few who are chosen (Matt 22:14) is the amount of time spent in prayer and the quality of that prayer. The chosen wouldn’t stay chosen for long without prayer!
Of course, it’s unlikely that the children will use their freedom in this way unless they receive encouragement from their parent(s) and guardian(s).
Hence the effort to create discussion and awareness of the path to intimacy with God in the home, among parent(s), guardian(s) and children preparing for Confirmation.
Finally, the children – indeed every recipient of Confirmation – can at any point in their lives renew their Confirmation by adopting and living the content of the sessions and fan into flame the tiny seed of the Spirit that has remained largely dormant within them.
With every good wish to you and your family.
Fr. Paddy Banville