I've been reading Mark Mallett's blog posts about the Charismatic movement with interest lately. I feel that I have an affinity for all things Charismatic. This becomes difficult, however, when 1. you don't have much access to it and 2. you live with a bunch of people who have no interest in searching it out.
My husband, children and I have had various discussions over the years with the things I like and they don't like about things Charismatic. I'm sure you can guess what they are because they're all pretty standard:
- Is this even really part of the Catholic church?
- Where is the reverence?
- Where is the silence?
- What's up with that music??
That is why I've been reading Mark's posts with interest. I'm glad to see the movement explained and given some validity. While I was reading the posts by Mark, I was struck by his statements that the sacrament of Confirmation should really be as it was during Pentecost: meaning that we should expect to receive the Holy Spirit and all of His gifts and fruits and charisms just like the apostles did. He made mention that when his sister and his daughter were Confirmed, they received the gift of tongues. While I'm not going to debate about that particular gift, it made me think about how we've approached our Confirmation preparation in this household.
By the time the girls were ready to be Confirmed they all had a lot of book knowledge about the sacrament, but I began to think back to how much spiritual preparation they had...or didn't have. I believe that the lack of spiritual preparation severely limited their reception of what God wanted to give them. My eldest daughter said she remembered her Confirmation being a powerful and moving event. The next two girls, due to an unusual set of circumstances, did not have much spiritual preparation. Consequently neither of them had any powerful memories of their Confirmation.
Likewise, I was brought up in the Church and was Confirmed at the appropriate age, but I was of the generation that picked a Confirmation name because it sounded good with your given name, not because it signified a Saint that you wanted to emulate. Therefore, I too do not have any great recollection of my Confirmation being a moving experience. I remember going out for my first prime rib dinner. Sad, but true...
Our next daughter is going to be Confirmed this year and I'm taking all of this as a wake-up call, an exciting call, to spend a lot more time spiritually preparing her to receive the Holy Spirit instead of just having the book knowledge. I even believe that if myself and my other daughters prepare along with her, that we might be able to receive some of what we missed; even from the pew. I am looking forward to really spending time in prayer leading up to this event and am excited about the possibility of a surge of the Holy Spirit within our household.
What are your thoughts on the Charismatic Movement?
Note: I reread what I wrote in this last paragraph and I'd like to clarify that I know we all received the fullness of the sacrament! And while I know that a sacrament is valid even if you don't "feel" anything, I believe that by being better prepared spiritually the gifts received during that time would have been better manifested in us. I hope that better clarifies what I was trying to say.