As a teenager preparing for the sacrament of confirmation, I often wondered when I would have my “upper room” experience like the one recalled in the first reading for the celebration of Pentecost. I figured that if confirmation is all about the descent of the Holy Spirit into a believer’s life, then that gift should be accompanied by some sort of overwhelming experience in order to reassure the one to be confirmed that the desired gift of the Spirit had indeed been received. And so I prayed and I waited. And then I waited some more. And then I prayed some more and waited even longer.
From the Editor
I’m not sure anyone could have predicted that Cardinal Jose Mario Bergoglio would be chosen by the College of Cardinals as successor to St. Peter. In the hype leading up to the conclave, his name did not appear on any of the short lists of likely papal candidates that were being bandied about. In fact, his name didn’t seem to appear on many long lists either, other than those which noted the names of all the cardinal electors who would be in attendance once the conclave began. Yet another reminder that the Holy Spirit blows where he wills.
Father, it’s been 20 years.” “Father, it’s been 35 years.” “Father, it’s been a real long time since I’ve been here.” There aren’t words adequate to the task of describing how it feels to be a confessor when someone steps into the reconciliation chapel and awkwardly begins to explain that it has been a very long time since she or he experienced the sacrament of reconciliation. I feel deeply honored. I am slightly scared. I am moved by the other person’s courage – the courage it took to simply step through the door.
Near the end of January each year, I find myself reflecting with gratitude on the gift of life I have been given. Although my birthday is in September, January usually has the greater significance for me when it comes to reflecting on the fact that I have been alive for 47 years, for it is likely that my life began in my biological mother’s womb near the end of January 1965.