By Renee Molner
It’s hard for me to admit, but when I first started teaching the Confirmation program here two years ago, I didn’t really have a relationship with the Holy Spirit. God and Jesus? We spoke every day. I learned what I could about them and from them. But that third person of the Holy Trinity? Not so much.
As my first year teaching Confirmation went on, I realized just how important that relationship is. I wouldn’t have gotten through that first year of ministry without the Holy Spirit. There were so many times I called on him as the year went on. I was learning as I went, and when I felt lost, he was right there. And as I stressed about preparing for the Confirmation ceremony for the first time, someone told me not to worry; the Holy Spirit always shows up.
The Gospel this week tells us who the Spirit is: an Advocate and the Spirit of truth. The Holy Spirit “remains with you, and will be in you.” And that’s what I’ve tried to emphasize to our Confirmation students as I’ve learned it myself: when you need help, the Spirit will guide you. He will guide you with the wisdom and understanding needed to tackle any situation. He is with you always. He’s the little nudge God places inside of us, encouraging us to do what’s right and helping us to align our will with God’s.
I’ve spent the past year calling on the Holy Spirit more than ever before. Before every Confirmation class, I’d pray that he’d be with us and guide us to open our hearts to whatever was the lesson that day. Before any talk I’d give to the middle schoolers or high schoolers, I’d ask him that the words I speak be his, not mine. Because I know the Holy Spirit has important lessons to bestow upon us. And maybe one of the best things we can be in this world is an instrument of the Holy Spirit. An example of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. An example of God’s love to others.
With life being as crazy as it is right now, perhaps this is the greatest time to remember this. About nine days before Confirmation this past Saturday, we got word that Confirmation was still going to happen. That gave everyone nine days to prepare for two ceremonies in the midst of a global pandemic. There were so many people who put incredible work into making this happen. The chapel had to be reconfigured, the teens had to be prepared without a rehearsal, there had to be a way to clean the chapel between the ceremonies, the actual liturgies had to be planned and so on.
But, in the midst of all this chaos, the most important thing happened. The Holy Spirit showed up. And, come Saturday, that was what mattered most. These teens had the opportunity to celebrate what they had been preparing for all year, and I think everyone could feel a spirit of peace and joy. It’s the most beautiful reminder that brings peace to my heart. Even amidst a world filled with fear and panic and sadness, true joy resides. The Holy Spirit has shown up and will continue to, every time. All you have to do is call out.