I sometimes wonder what the disciples felt like when Jesus told them that he had to leave them. Probably a little confused, startled, and worried. I don’t blame them, the man they came to know and love was no longer going to be by their side. In fact, Scripture says that because of this news, grief filled the disciples hearts (John 16:6), and yet Jesus still tells them that it is “better for you that I go” (John 16:7).
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.
“When you get confirmed, what happened to the Apostles is the exact same thing that will happen to you . . . maybe minus the visible tongues of fire . . . I don’t know, I’m not making any guarantees. But the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit will actually be upon you. This is what happens in the Sacrament of Confirmation, that we receive these gifts. And these gifts are what? St. Paul writes about them in the book of Galatians – the fruits of the Spirit are: love, and joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. You receive the power to live a new life, not just for yourself but for other people.”
Catholics are able to speak in tongues if they have been given the gift of tongues by the Holy Spirit.
“Tongues” is a kind of prayer that can either be vocalized or internal and it’s when a person is able to pray in a language that they do not know. Not all Catholics are given this gift, but that's okay. All Catholics receive the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit at Confirmation. These are the important gifts that everyone needs to grow in holiness.
It seems a little unfair honestly. There are all these crazy and dramatic details in the story of Pentecost, and my life is so mundane in contrast. I want the Holy Spirit to work in powerful ways in my life too.
So what's stopping Him?
Me. I'm stopping Him. I'm scared and I'll admit it . . .