Part of the brother’s visit to TSS is centred around the Confirmation (and Baptism) of students, family members and staff. I always find this part of our visit a particular privilege. We get to spend time getting to know the candidates and talking with them on various aspects of faith. This year we were invited to talk on aspects of scripture, prayer and rule of life as well as reinforcing information on the Sacraments.
I initially found it challenging to try and link the topics of scripture, prayer and rule of life. However, as I was preparing for the session it became crystal clear. Scripture, I shared with the candidates, is the basis of our faith. Scripture is the way in which God reveals God’s self to humanity. It is in Scripture that we learn all we need to learn to know how to respond to God’s call for us to enter into relationship with God. Prayer then, was the way in which we respond to God’s Divine Revelation. Prayer is the way in which we hear God’s Word, allow it to become part of us and transform us, and to then live that out in our lives. Through developing a rule of life we can develop habits which allow us to hear and respond to the Word of God.
After reviewing the Sacraments of the Church and how we are called to a Sacramental life as members of the Church the Candidates then met with Bishop Rob Nolan. This was their opportunity to meet him and vice versa. Lunch with the Bishop is an integral part of the Candidates’ Confirmation experience.
Finally the time arrived. Parents, friends, sponsors, and members of the school community all arrived for that special moment. One cannot help but feel anything but pride as the young men and women came to affirm their faith, and for some to be received as members of the body of Christ through Baptism. As each candidate for Baptism and or Confirmation came forward I realised the privelge one is given in these moments to help start them on a new faith journey with God.
We cannot give these students our God experiences, which would lead them into a relationship with God, but we can help create a space for them to have their own God experiences. I know from talking with some students who have been part of the Baptism and Confirmation service, either as a Candidate or supporter, that they do indeed have some experience of being open to the present reality of God.