Mass was packed, and ran long because of the blessings and words directed at this years’ Confirmation initiates. My own confirmation happened for me when I was in the 8th grade. These kids I think were high-schoolers, though as I age I find it a bit harder to nail down such distinctions easily. In looking at the page for Confirmation, I see that the custom of taking a confirmation name — I chose “Benedict” as mine, is just that, a local custom peculiar to English and German speaking. The Benedict I chose was Benedict of Nursia. I recall that I chose him because he was a kind of hermit. Read his biography and you see a lot about a life of study and isolation. It is a certainty I chose that as a person to model after because I felt myself so alone in the world. I had few friends by virtue of always being a new kid. The stretches of time afforded to a monk appealed to me. To draw and read and pray (in that order) were tremendously appealing. I was awkward and a little odd. I did my science project not on hurricanes or exploding volcanoes, but on the Pythagorean Theorem. I was cerebral and introverted.
I wondered who these kids will choose for their Confirmation name.
One aspect of the Mass was the family laying their hands on the initiates and blessing them. That’s something uncommon in the Catholic Church. In a LDS/Mormon Church, there are various Priesthoods held by the men of the congregation, indeed, my stepsons have what is called a Priesthood.
True story, when my youngest got his latest Priesthood, an older Mormon male joked –mostly seriously — that you (getters of that particular priesthood, age 12) “have more of God’s power in your litte finger than ‘That Man’ in Rome does” — I glanced at Ty on that one. Ty is savvy and understands — even as a teen, that kind of a “cut.” It was a nice point of discussion to discuss how that fellow might be cutting himself off from certain truths, and offending his audience, by dismissing other faiths in that way. It was a great teachable moment for the whole family. I know I got a lot from it.
I like something I read recently about something in the Baptist faith called “The Priesthood of all believers.” This sounds like truth to me. This is in keeping with the idea of a “personal relationship with God.” I think authorities can enhance that relationship, but in a vacuum, a disconnected person has that same agency, I believe.
On other fronts, a cousin of the kids was killed in a motorcycle accident in the San Diego area last week. We had had them this weekend, but this short-circuited all that. I prayed for their Dad’s family, including them, at Mass. What else can one do?
Hey, I don’t know anything. But I find the interfaith comparison thing fascinating. I’m learning every day.
As Oso says too, Onward.