Recently someone asked me if I ever get tired doing Confirmations. The question came up in a conversation about my Confirmation schedule, and the observation that in my 26 years as a bishop I’ve probably celebrated Confirmation nearly a 1,000 times.
My response was that while I get tired from the schedule, especially being out on so many evenings, I never get tired of celebrating the sacrament. That’s because, I explained, that the sacrament itself is so meaningful; because every parish and every ceremony is unique; and because it gives me an excellent opportunity to meet lots of great young people and their families.
But the question led me to think about how easy it is for all of us to take our faith for granted, and even get tired and casual about receiving the sacraments. The weariness, the apathy towards the practice of our faith, towards the sacraments, extends even to the Holy Eucharist.
How often have we heard someone say, “Mass is boring, I don’t get anything out of it?” Or, ‘I’m too busy to go to Mass, I just don’t have the time.” But how can that be when the Eucharist is the heart and soul of our Catholic Faith? How can that be when in the Eucharist we stand in the presence of the Living God? How can that be when in the Eucharist we’re privileged to receive the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ?
But our indifference towards the sacraments extends beyond the Eucharist, I fear. How many young people are ignoring Holy Matrimony and getting married without the blessing of the Church, or increasingly these days, not getting married at all, just to live together? How many parents present their children for Baptism and then, casually ignoring the solemn promises they made, seldom step foot in a church again? How many priests neglect the grace of their Ordination and quickly abandon their prayer and then get lazy in their ministry to God’s People?
Our Catholic Faith is such a wonderful blessing, and the sacraments are the portals of our encounter with God. How can we ever get tired of celebrating or receiving the sacraments!
Something to think about: Do lovers ever tire of being together? How, then, can we ever tire of being with God, especially in our prayer and the sacraments?