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The Sacrament of Confirmation

I am blessed to have been born into a Catholic family, because even though we didn’t practice our faith, my parents still made sure that I was baptized and received my First Communion, at the ages of 3 and 13 respectively. Unsurprisingly, I don’t remember my Baptism, but I do remember my First Communion. Well, the days leading up to it and the party afterwards.

I remember feeling special because I was going to have a private Mass in Mexico. I remember designing my custom-made dress exactly as I wanted. I remember getting my hair done at a salon the morning of, the priest confusing my parents for my godparents and vice versa during the Mass, and I remember my family and closest relatives being busy during the after party, leaving me to hang out alone and bored among guests I didn’t know for the majority of it.

I remember all of that, but I don’t remember the Mass itself or the church. I don’t remember receiving Jesus in the Holy Eucharist for the first time. Worse, I didn’t even know I was receiving Him. After my personal conversion some years ago, this devastated me.

But back then all I knew was that I’d done my time. I’d endured two years of boring Sunday classes to have my First Communion like my parents wanted. So, when we returned from Mexico and my parents told me I’d have to attend more classes to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation, I said no thanks. I wasn’t going through that again. And they didn’t force me.

Well, I finally received the Sacrament of Confirmation this past January, a few months short of turning 30. Part of me wishes I’d been confirmed so much earlier, but another part of me knows that God’s timing is perfect. He knew that I’d have regrets over my First Communion, about what I prioritized, about not knowing what wonderful mystery took place, so He waited for me to accept this beautiful gift of Confirmation until I was ready to receive it wholeheartedly. To be so excited for the sacrament that I even forgot to plan an after party!

Funnily enough, when I was being anointed with oil I was so nervous about answering correctly that I kind of missed the moment. It wasn’t until I was praying alone in my room later that night that it hit me: I’m a fully initiated Catholic.

It felt different. I felt different. I was complete.

Interestingly, I hadn’t felt incomplete before then, at least, not since returning to the Church.

Yes, I’d understood that I wasn’t fully integrated with the Church, but I had access to the Eucharist and Confession. Even after my personal conversion, those gifts were enough. I did want to be confirmed, and that desire grew each year, but it wasn’t a priority. Not until I began my adult confirmation classes did a fervent need for the Sacrament of Confirmation bloom within me, one that grew as the date drew nearer.

Yet even then, I didn’t grasp just how unfinished I was until that night of my confirmation. There was just this realization of fulfillment. I’d changed. I’d leveled up. I was finally who God made me to be. Not yet the saint He made me to be, but I understood the truth that He’d always wanted me to be a fully initiated Catholic. He’d always desired that I receive this gift. He’d always desired that I be so completely united to Him, so completely nourished by Him in this specific way.

I’ve never fallen in love, so I don’t understand when people in love question how they could’ve lived without each other before meeting, but in that moment, I got a glimpse of that. I couldn’t believe that I’d waited 30 years, that I’d lived so long without being 100% Catholic, and as dramatic as this sounds, I wondered how I’d even breathed before then. I wished it were common to receive the three sacraments of Initiation from birth in the Roman Rite because living even one day without being a fully initiated Catholic seemed too long.

I so badly wanted, want, this gift for everyone. And God so badly, so desperately, desires this gift for everyone even more, infinitely more.

Because, as I learned in a Sacraments in Scripture Bible study last Fall, “Confirmation is the sacrament by which we receive the Holy Spirit in order to make us strong and perfect Christians and soldiers of Jesus Christ.”

I’ve shared before that I, like so many, struggle with perfectionism, so learning that the Sacrament of Confirmation makes us perfect excited me. I knew that it wouldn’t be an instant change—I wish—but hoping in a future me that was capable of being that cool encouraged me.

And now living it, being that future me, has been awesome. I am not a strong, perfect Christian soldier of Jesus Christ. But I believe I can become one. Every new step toward holiness and restoration now feels like ten! There’s so much strength and beauty in being a completed Catholic, and I’m reminded of St. Catherine of Siena’s quote, “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.”

I feel it now sometimes, that fire of the Holy Spirit. That burning love to give, to act, to become, even in my little ways.

And as much as I wish I’d had this all my life, I’m also grateful for the gift of receiving this sacrament now, as an adult so in love with her faith. Because there’s a beauty in receiving Sacraments of Initiation fully aware of what we’re accepting, of Who we’re accepting, and being in awe of the mystery. There’s also this powerful communal excitement, since my loved ones were just as happy about my Confirmation as I was. My enthusiasm fed theirs and their excitement fed mine, and it was a really cool unexpected experience.

This isn’t something I had with either my Baptism or First Communion, the first because I was too small and the second because I didn’t know my faith. My Confirmation was kind of like a do-over for me. I wanted it this time and I wanted to treasure this gift in a way I hadn’t the first two.

And I think that’s why God didn’t make my parents force me as a teenager to be confirmed. In His perfect love and mercy, He let me “have my way” back then so He could heal my regrets now.

From the classes to the Mass itself, all the days in between and all the days after were and have been a special time in my life. I don’t deserve to have experienced such a beautiful Confirmation, to have had so many loved ones praying for me and celebrating with me.

I don’t deserve any of this, yet God still desired to give me such a gift. Despite the wounds I’ve given Him with my sins, despite the sadness I still cause Him and His mother with my disobedience, despite the pain I inflict on others with my selfishness, God has looked on me with eyes of mercy and welcomed me into His family as His own, because He knows it’s only there, with Him, where I will find the love, healing, and rest that I desire.

“O God, you are my God—
it is you I seek!
For you my body yearns;
for you my soul thirsts.”

Ps 63:2

And, if you’ve already received all three Sacraments of Initiation and, like me with my First Communion, have regrets about how you experienced them, it’s not too late to heal. Seek comfort in God’s arms, in His mother’s arms. As my Confirmation coordinator said, “He meets us where we’re at” and He always meets us with mercy.

Then rejoice. You’re a fully initiated Catholic! Blessed be God for such a beautiful gift! “You can change the world,” my coordinator said after my Confirmation.

We can. The Enemy is afraid of us believing that. Satan wants us to think we’re too weak, imperfect, broken, and unworthy. And you know what, we are. But, we have the Holy Spirit to make us strong, perfect, whole, and worthy, as He meant you and me to be to set the world on fire.

About Author

Citlalin Ossio is an avid fantasy writer and reader, whose work is heavily inspired by her Catholic faith, her Mexican heritage, and Nintendo’s Legend of Zelda. Her fantasy short stories have been featured in various anthologies, and one, She Has No Voice, won second place in the Prose category for Rehumanize International’s 2021 Create | Encounter. She is a joyful single living in Texas with her family and enjoys creating art, playing video games, and watching anime and Korean dramas. When she’s not writing or spending time with her loved ones she’s on Instagram @citlalinossio, or dreaming about raising a panda army.

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