Do you remember the day of your Confirmation?
You do? How providentially fortunate for you.
My memory is now just a hazy blur, but then, we are going back to circa 1953 when most of you, my dear friends, were in the waiting room of the Lord, yet to be summoned.
I cannot recall whether it was Cardinal Bernard Griffin or Bishop Craven that conferred me with the power of the Holy Ghost...for that is what it is....power.
Power to be a soldier for Jesus Christ...do they say that anymore? Has Fr Volpi banned it yet?
To a young lad, whose father had served in the First World War and who had two brothers who had fought in the Second World War, (one in the South Lancashire Regiment and one in the Commandos), such a phrase was a call to action (no, not that bunch of twerps, I mean real action, standing up for the Faith and taking all incoming fire without flinching).
Do we do that anymore?
Our priests (not the ones that we all know and admire, who are excluded from this post) seem to enjoy keeping a low profile, not entering any debate that might get a little bit..you know...punchy.
Some years ago in our local town, a disreputable person (allegedly) applied for planning permission to open a sex shop.
Mrs L and I sent in an objection fully expecting the local PP and his parish council to be way ahead of us.
But, when the County Council deliberated on the subject, only the local Baptists, had raised our heads above the parapet besides ourselves.
Not many priests it seems, wish to enter the public arena. Not many would, for example, set up stall in the town square to preach against secularism.
And as for the laity.....pooh! White feathers blowing on the breeze, happy to be pushed in any direction the world wishes to blow them to.
Read now the words of the Bishop during Confirmation:
Fill them with the spirit of Your holy fear, and sign them with the sign of the cross + of Christ in mercy for eternal life. Through the same Jesus Christ... in the unity of the same Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.
Adimple eos Spiritu timoris tui, et consigna eos signo crucis + Christi, in vitam propitiatus aeternam. Per eumdem Dominum... in unitate ejusdem Spiritus Sancti, Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen