When I was six, I wanted the board game Mousetrap more than anything, even a pony. The commercials gave the impression that it was 3D-puzzle-awesomeness, a real live mousetrap that you built on the board that involved marbles falling, see-saws flipping and even a little plastic guy falling into a barrel of cheese.
After receiving it for my birthday, I tore open the box, so excited for the fun promised in the advertisements. I was extremely disappointed to realize that my chubby six-year-old fingers couldn’t maneuver the tiny pieces and the instructions were too complicated for me to understand alone. The “Ages 6 and up” label was all lies — at least for THIS six year old.
Bummed, I kicked the box under my bed. It stayed there, collecting dust. I had been so excited to receive it, but I didn’t understand it, so I didn’t play it.
I’ve noticed that sometimes we receive the Sacrament of Confirmation the same way I received Mousetrap so many years ago. The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that the effects of the Sacrament of Confirmation are that it “increases the gifts of the Holy Spirit” in us (#1303). The same gifts of the spirit prophesied by Isaiah in the Old Testament. The same Holy Spirit that descended on the apostles at Pentecost and empowered them to carry the news of Christ to the ends of the known world and even die martyr’s deaths.
The gifts of the Holy Spirit are a big deal. They empower us the same way they empowered the Apostles and our brothers and sisters in faith throughout history and — fortunately for us — they are given to us, even if we don’t fully understand them.
Maybe you are preparing for the Sacrament of Confirmation. Maybe you received it last year, maybe you received it ten years ago. Regardless, the gifts of the Holy Spirit were given to you at your Baptism and strengthened (or will be strengthened) at your Confirmation, ready to come to your aid everyday as you strive to live your faith.
I used to think that the Holy Spirit was only for people singing gospel songs on television or the elderly ladies that arrived for Mass an hour early to pray the rosary. Yet the Catechism tells us that our moral life is “sustained” by the gifts of the Holy Spirit (#1830). In other words, we depend on the gifts of the Holy Spirit to do what’s right. The more we understand them, the more we can realize how we’re already using them and how we can rely on them more.
I was too young to understand and enjoy Mousetrap, but the gifts of the Holy Spirit are not gifts we grow into or outgrow. They are there, ready to assist us at every point of our journey. Don’t kick your spiritual life under the bed, thinking you’ll revisit it when you’re old enough to drive, in college or getting married. The gifts of the Holy Spirit- wisdom, understanding, knowledge, counsel, piety, fortitude and fear of the Lord- are ready to be used right now.
There’s so much more I want to share with you about the gifts of the Spirit and how I’ve learned to understand and appreciate them in my life. Too much to fit in a blog, in fact. So I’m excited to share more about how I came to understand the gifts I received at my Confirmation in Gifted: Unleashing the Power of Confirmation.
The gifts of the Holy Spirit help you every day. Take the steps to learn more from your sacramental preparation, religious education and youth ministry, Scripture and The Catechism. Learn that you’ve been gifted.