During the week I spoke with parents of Confirmation Children in a neighbouring parish. I was happy to have the chance to do this as it made me think about our own schools in the parish and the children who are preparing there for the Sacrament of Confirmation. I thought a bit about what I might say to these parents and tried to get an image to put before them.
The notion of crossroads came to mind. For a while I thought it might describe where the boys and girls are at in life and that it’s a place of decision-making. I felt parents would, of course, have a role in that process and help the children to figure out the best road to take. I wanted to make the point that there was a call to be changed by the Sacrament of Confirmation and the outpouring of the Gifts and Fruits of the Holy Spirit and that staying the same wasn’t really an option. I spent a bit of time thinking about this and came to the conclusion that “crossroads” is not the right image. For at a crossroads we have the option of just travelling on the same road, maybe even without much thought or reflection. Even if it’s the wrong road we could easily just travel on our way and not make any real or meaningful change to the journey.
I had second thoughts about the crossroads but still wanted some image that might stay with people and that took account of the “faith” journey the boys and girls are part of. My mind wandered to another intersection we encounter on our travels – the “T” Junction.
It struck me that the T-Junction is a better image because when we reach it, a choice has to be made. At first I thought there were two choices; Left or Right but then realised that there are, in fact, three. We could also choose to go back the road we’ve already travelled and go no further along the way. I would see this as very regrettable. The only way to continue on the journey is to YIELD and make a decision for Left or Right. I believe that is very much a daily choice for all of us and one that teenagers as they celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation are approaching in a very real way. The decision, you’d hope, is for the RIGHT! The right path, right choices, preferring right to wrong, good to bad and safe to harmful. All we should be about as adults is rooted in offering encouragement that the right path is taken. Even if, for a while, we travel “left” or in the wrong direction the hope remains that the Holy Spirit, the “SAT-NAV” that is our inner and guiding voice will say “Make U-Turn when possible”. That’s the hope but we need to equip people to hear this voice and be able to recognise and follow it.
I had an image and wanted one word that the parents might bring home with them. The word that came to mind is SHARE and I decided to apply a thought or phrase to each letter. We are entering Catholic Schools Week and maybe the word is appropriate to more than just the parents of Confirmation children but, in some way, to all of us as we seek to SHARE the faith with others and help people (ourselves too) to make the right choice at the T-Junction.