Wednesday, April 27, 2011
"For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing." (2 Corinthians 2:15)
Archbishop Listecki leaned over each jar of Chrism, sweetened with the earthy fragrance of balsam, breathed in deeply and then released his breath into the fragrant mixture of oil and perfume thereby calling the Holy Spirit to enter into the Chrism making it holy.
John and I, seated in the front of the church, were finally able to see the actions at the Chrism Mass for the first time after many years of only finding seats in the back of the crowded Cathedral. We were so close that I could actually smell the sweet perfume. Every sense in my body was intensely aware of the holiness of the moment, and I fondly recalled the year that I had the great honor of carrying the Chrism home from the Cathedral for my parish. I couldn't sleep that whole night because the scent of the oil in the box on my dresser kept me awake with excitement over the awesome thought of having those holy oils in my own house until the morning when I must reluctantly deliver them to the director of liturgy at my parish.
I looked at my son sitting next to me, my son who will be receiving that consecrated Chrism smeared firmly onto his forehead by Bishop Sklba at his Confirmation this Saturday. It will be rubbed so thoroughly and deeply into his skin that it will penetrate through his pores and soak into his soul, forever penetrating his very essence with the Holy Spirit breathed into that oil by Archbishop Listecki. In that moment I saw, not a fine young man on the cusp of full and joyful acceptance into the Catholic faith, but instead, a little baby dressed in a white baptismal garment, nestled in my arms as I breathed deeply and was overcome with that fragrant scent with which he was covered for the first time, that aroma that lingered on his sweet brow for days. How quickly that time has passed from the moment when Paul and I brought our innocent first babe to church for the Sacrament of Baptism and professed our willingness to bring him up in the faith, until now, the moment when John will profess his own desire to remain in the faith and live his entire life in the Spirit of the One and Only loving God.
And how fitting it is that my son, born on October 16th, the date that Pope John Paul II was elected Pope, and christened "John Paul" will now be Confirmed into the faith on the eve of that same Pope's beatification. John has declined to choose a new name for himself as he is confirmed and has chosen instead to reaffirm the name chosen for him in honor of that good and holy man for whom he was named.
I pray that on April 30th, when the Holy Spirit descends through the crowded church and penetrates the foreheads of each of the youth being confirmed in their faith, that all will be moved to embrace an active Catholicism-one of faith, hope and love-through both prayer and action , for the remainder of their lives.
And might I just send a nod John's way and invite you to pay a visit to his own blog, Writings of a Boy Discerning God's Call, for his own take on the excitement he feels over his upcoming Confirmation and his experiences during the Triduum just past?