Sunday, November 1, 2009

Personal Reflection: On Confirmation

The Service of Holy Eucharist and Confirmation has ended. I linger about our small chapel afterwards to reflect on the profound mysteries enacted there moments ago – heaven striking earth like lightning on this spot, as Frederica Mathewes-Green writes – and I notice the autumn light filtering through the windows, diffused by the rising smoke of incense, playing off the bottle filled with Holy Chrism, the Oil of Gladness: God, dwelling in light inaccessible from before time and forever, condescending to enlighten the world through his Son our Lord Jesus Christ. How gracious is our God to take the stuff of earth – water and oil, bread and wine, sacred word and action – and reveal it as the stuff of heaven. How merciful is our Lord to take the stuff of earth – water and oil, bread and wine, sacred word and action – and reveal the heavenly mysteries of new creation, of sanctification, of immortality, of truth, of life. How wondrous that our God should work through the mouths and hands and lives of sinners – of whom I am chief – to proclaim the gospel of reconciliation and to administer the mysteries of grace.

It is my prayer that, before I die, I can truly pray the Nunc dimittis, The Song of Simeon.

Lord, you now have set your servant free
to go in peace as you have promised;
For these eyes of mine have seen the Savior,
whom you have prepared for all the world to see:
A light to enlighten the nations,
and the glory of your people Israel.

This day is part of God’s ongoing answer to my prayer: a day when through this sinner’s hands, my daughter in the flesh – and another dear one who is a second daughter to me – became most truly my sisters in the faith. These eyes of mine have seen the Savior in the lives of these two. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. By his great mercy we have been born anew through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Mercy, indeed.

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