Sherry Antonetti is a freelance writer, blogger and published author of The Book of Helen. She lives just outside of Washington, DC with her husband and their ten children.
It might be wrong to say, I’ve always felt drawn to the third person of the Trinity. Maybe it was the introduction to the Holy Spirit when Catholic Charismatics prayed for me to be healed and following that weekend, I breathed on my own (with the tracheostomy corked up) for a few minutes. Maybe it was the subsequent gift from my dad of a silver dove to replace the silver trach tube the following summer. Maybe it was because we associate the Holy Spirit with breathing, and I tried to make breathing optional for the first eight years of life. Suffice it to say, Confirmation remains my favorite sacrament, and the Holy Spirit, I know to be a true friend, who always wants to renew us.
The descent of the Holy Spirit is my favorite mystery of the Rosary. Each time I get to this decade, the first seven get taken up by the seven gifts, and the other three, by the request for humility, humor and patience.
When you get confirmed John, you’ll be given the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and will spend the rest of your life discovering how these gifts are to be used. I also know you’ve discovered, you pick the saint as your model and intercessor, someone who will pray for and with you, and who illustrates for you by the life they’ve lived a person who upon receiving the gifts of the Holy Spirit, set about the work of doing God’s will. After much discussion and discernment, you picked your sister to be the sponsor, once we figured out you thought the person needed to be someone who had it all figured out. Now you know, the sponsor stands with you, prays with and for you, practices their faith, and agrees from this point forward, to walk with you.
The sacrament is the beginning of your adult life. What follows is your response to this great grace. Back when my sister worked on her Confirmation, she asked the question, “What is an experience with the Holy Spirit?” and I think it remains an inadequately answered question, because for each person, that experience is different. What I know, is the Holy Spirit urges one to act, to speak, to heal, to be present, to witness. The Holy Spirit taps us on the heart and directs us to see something in our lives which needs addressing, or something in the world, someone in our lives, who needs us to speak and to act.
I can tell you, if you let the Holy Spirit take the lead, you may find yourself in a situation you could never have imagined, but you’ll know what you do was guided by and is the will of the Holy Spirit by the fruits. If what you do brings about greater love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, it is of the Holy Spirit. If it brings friendships, if it builds community, if it brings salt and light, if it requires sublimation and service, it is of the Holy Spirit. If you still don’t know, don’t be afraid to ask.
Here’s how you ask:
Prayer to the Holy Spirit by Cardinal Mercier
O Holy Spirit, beloved of my soul, I adore You.
Enlighten me, guide me, strengthen me, console me.
Tell me what I should do; give me Your orders.
I promise to submit myself to all that You desire of me and to accept all that You permit to happen to me. Let me only know Your Will.
It takes some courage to say the prayer, but I also know, it never fails to bring me to where I should go and what I should do, even if I don’t go or don’t do.
Good luck with Confirmation. Happy and excited for you!