Assignment for 2nd year candidates
A great British writer, Leon Bloy, in his work “The Woman Who Would be Poor” stated this in the last line of the book: “There is only one unhappiness, and that is not to be one of the saints.” This one sentence captures the goal that every confirmed Christian should be about—“loving God and neighbor with one’s whole heart, soul, mind and strength. Catholics believe that a person who does this consistently, faithfully and devotedly throughout his/her life will, upon his/her death, be with God and all those who love God forever. Eternity is a profound concept—no, it is a profound reality. Please try to imagine time that has no end point, or a universe that is finite. Your confirmation and the fulfillment of its expectations has a most wonderful and beautiful prize—eternity with God and God’s friends.
One of the dogmatic beliefs of Catholics (dogmatic means this truth is indisputable) found in our creed is the “community of saints”. These saints, or preferably and more familiar to us, these friends of God are our models of how we can live by faith. These are the people that, in the face of horrible oppression or suffering, continue to witness to the conviction that God is love and that God will have the final word. Their stories contain valuable lessons for Christians on the “how to” of becoming saints. Jesus can seem so distant to us as a role model due to the period of time in which he lived—over two thousand years ago—as well as in the fragments contained in the Gospel accounts of his life. When one reads the story of a person who lived in the last 50 to 100 years, their heroic life can seem more achievable or attainable—they can seem to be more like us.
One of the rituals of the confirmation rite is for the confirmand (the candidate) to choose a new name to reflect his/her reception of the Holy Spirit and its graces to transform his/her life to be more like Jesus’. The Church also suggests that if no new name is chosen, the candidate can take of their baptismal names (first or middle) and use that as the confirmation name. In this assignment we would like you to write an essay on the saint’s name you intend to use for your confirmation name. You can either choose a new name of reinforce your baptismal name.
It would be important that you discuss this name choice with your parents since they may have some thoughts on what they think would be a good name. Some families have traditions associated with confirmation names.
Your essay should contain most of these reflection points:
- A little background on the saint you are writing about–where they grew up, some of the challenges they faced in life and the work they did that defined their life.
- What was it about this person that characterized them as being worthy of being a saint (either formally canonized or beatified, the stage before canonization)?
- What is it within this person‘s life and story that you are personally attracted to, that appeals to you and that you might want to emulate in your life?
- A short story from his/her life that you found interesting.
- What is it in this person’s life that they did or how they lived that makes them heroic in the practice of love, that in a way makes them holy?
- It is said that during certain periods in history, God brings forth saints who become “prophetic” voices to the culture of the day that stands in opposition to how God desires humans to live and behave. In your mind, does this person represent one of those prophetic voices and if so, what element of the culture do they stand in opposition to?
- What is an element or quality in this person’s story that you most admire?
- Is there any aspect of this person’s life that seems similar to your life or to the person you aspire to be? Another way to pose the question, can you relate with this person, does any aspect of his/her life intersect with your own life? If so, what is it?
- Is this a person you would like to meet if you could do so? What question would you like to ask them?
- There is not required minimum length to this essay. However, I can suggest that to cover the above points it can be at least 1and a half to two or more pages. If you want to go more, please do so.