I think I should get some LEARNING back into the whole idea of Learning Mass, so here goes.
My intention is to make this a twice a month event for the foreseeable future, with an increase in frequency after I am officially out of the U.S. Army.
I’ve already sat through a Confirmation Mass this Easter season.
It was beautiful and all that, and everyone one is supposed to say about a Mass that brings “the youth” into the Church officially.
I don’t mean to sound sarcastic or anything. I’m glad when I get to see it, but for someone who didn’t know anyone getting confirmed, it’s hard to really realize the impact and importance of such an event.
I didn’t mean to look it up in the Catechism or anything. I just kind of stumbled on it when I was trying to catch up on my Year of Faith goal to read the whole thing this year. (Eek, I’m a little behind, I confess, but I know I’ll get there.)
This is what I found in the Catechism:
1294: Anointing with oil has all these meanings in the sacramental life. The pre-baptismal anointing with the oil of catechumens signifies cleansing and strengthening; the anointing of the sick expresses healing and comfort. The post-baptismal anointing with sacred chrism in Confirmation and ordination is the sign of consecration. By confirmation, Christians, that is, those who are anointed, share more completely in the mission of Jesus Christ and the fullness of the Holy Spirit with which he is filled, so that their lives may give off “the aroma of Christ.”
The aroma of Christ… interesting.
I looked into that reference a little further.
2 Cor. 2:15-17: “For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things? For we are not like many, peddling the word of God, but as from sincerity, but as from God, we speak in Christ in the sight of God.”
Let me break it down. I don’t even really understand yet.
“We are a fragrance of Christ to God”
OK. Christ was a sacrifice, like in the Jewish tradition. He was atonement for our sins.
God sacrificed Christ, for us. He is the fragrance.
See Gen. 8:21: “The LORD smelled the soothing aroma; and the LORD said to Himself, “I will never again curse the ground on account of man, for the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth; and I will never again destroy every living thing, as I have done.”
The fragrance of the sacrifice was pleasing to God.
“among those who are being saved”
We are a fragrance of Christ to those being saved… um….
We serve as an example to those being saved. We share in Christ’s saving grace with those saved. I think it really is as simple as that.
“among those who are perishing”
This is confusing to me… how can we be the same thing to two very different groups of people?
It makes more sense with the next clause.
“to the one (group) [those being saved] an aroma from death to death”
According to my Bible commentary, Roman priests often carried incense, so Paul is using a current era reference for the readers.
The Romans lit the incense when they were returning from war, which meant life for the Roman soldiers but death to the prisioners.
The same is here with the “fragrance of Christ.” We are life to those that believe and death to those that don’t… though in our case, those that don’t know my not realize that we “smell” that way.
So, we smell like Christ. We smell that way as a continuous reminder that we are saved, that we are an offering to God, that our lives are offerings to God.
With confirmation, we “share more completely in the mission of Jesus Christ.”
We share in his mission. Not that we didn’t before we were confirmed, but it’s more so after the confirmation. That’s what the anointing bestows on us: a responsibility to share in Christ’s mission, to spread the Gospel and to love as Jesus did.
It’s nothing that should be taken lightly.
When I watched that group of high school students process to the altar for anointing, I wasn’t thinking about the extra burden they will now carry… well, I shouldn’t call it a burden. It’s a vocation.
I wasn’t thinking about that.
I’m glad they are entering the faith fully as adults. I was thinking about how catechizes never really ends.
Not for priests, not for moms, not for anyone. We must continue to learn, to develop our faith and to share it.
It’s the sharing that makes it stronger, which is another reason I need to get this blog focused back on learning again. (And writing Mass responses, but that’s another battle.)
When I do a little research for a blog post, it helps me. I hope it helps another.
It helps build and strengthen and my faith (along with writing for a different audience than a newspaper article).
I hope I didn’t confuse you more.