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On Confirmation-By Arinze Onwuzulike

On Confirmation-By Arinze Onwuzulike

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Published by: Arinze Onwuzulike on Aug 30, 2011
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10/19/2011

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On Confirmation, it Effects on Recipients, the Holy Spirit and Speaking in Tongues
Question:
I need an honest answer from u.. from what the bible says, that the apostles in the upperroom all began to speak in different tongues ... etc. after receiving the holy spirit... what was urpersonal spiritual experience after being confirmed or what have u witnessed as a priest from otherindividuals who were confirmed??? oo and please be honest about ur answer and don't try counselingme, hahaha.
Answer:
Mmmh, quite a tough one from an unexpected quarter!Anyway to begin with, I was confirmed when I was just 10 years old. I'm not sure Ifelt any noticeable extra-ordinary spiritual stuff in me then when the action was on.Perhaps too I was too young then to understand. I even was very annoyed thatmorning because the person I picked as my confirmation sponsor, did not show upuntil after the very moment of the laying on of hands and anointing with Chrism oilby the bishop. It was another person whom I barely knew that combined being my'co-opted sponsor' with being the sponsor of the person that duly picked himspecifically for that. Another funny but very true side to it is that I cannot evenremember a single word of what the bishop said in the homily!In retrospect however, I now take the experience as the 'time of confusion' thatinitially characterized the immediate reaction of the Apostles in the Upper Roomwhen they first saw the tongues of fire. It is clear that they did not immediately getthe gist. What has come down to us in the section of Acts of Apostles where thestory of the Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles is narrated is a carefullyreflected presentation of what may have taken place. Remember the Apostles didnot write down what happened to them immediately. It was years much later whenit dawned on them that most of them were dying off or being martyred because of the persecution that they started writing their experiences down (especially pastexperiences), as a witness that will survive them to later Christian generations likeyou and I. That is how we got our Bible. It is a souvenir from the Apostles. We thankthem for that.Connect it to the fact that after the Resurrection of Jesus, the Apostles' expressions,or do we say, reactions to the news from the women who visited the tomb thatmorning of the Resurrection were more of confusion, unbelief and indifference thanclear understanding of what was going on. The repeated appearances of Jesus wasnot for the fun of appearing and disappearing! Jesus simply meant business. Hissimple aim of the the Appearances was to assure and restore confidence in thetroubled minds of his Apostles. It was to tune down the loud and noisy volume of fear, unbelief and confusion among the Apostles. Recall Peter and John rushing outof the tomb in total unbelief. Also take into account Thomas' refusal to believe thatprompted Jesus to come back a second time after exactly one week and making Thomas practically feel the holes made by the nails.Remember too that the Apostles went back to their old business of fishing! Whatdoes that tell you? That action alone is a signal from them that Jesus promised a
 
hope he never had. So since he is dead, their life is as good as where it was beforethey met him. And where were they before he called them? Of course in the hecticbusiness of being poor fishermen. So going back to the business they wereaccustomed to was far more sensible than sticking to the delusion of empty hopeand bleak promises. After all, the devil they know (fishing) is better than the angelthey are not yet sure of (dividends of the Resurrection).Do not forget too, Jesus'repeated questioning of Peter three times by the Sea of Galilee: "Simon son of Jonahdo you love me more than these others?... Feed my sheep." This is to correct Peter'sthree times denial during the trial and agony knowing fully well that Peter is meantto be stronger as the "Head and the Rock upon which Jesus built the Church" Feelvery free to adduce your own judgement in all I have said above.What I know is that I took seriously the emphasis made on the term: "SOLDIERS OFCHRIST" during our Catechism instruction classes and the retreat that prepared usfinally for the confirmation proper. The metaphor of fighting for Christ with our lifeof witnessing as His Soldiers is what I took out of the whole confirmationexperience. I did not see the confirmation as something momentary, but anexperience of life time. As a Soldier I see the the Christian life which I am bound todefend as a constant daily battle for struggle. Sin in all its form is what we mustcombatantly confront. That for me is what I felt challenged to take up as aconfirmed Catholic. That sense of duty got into me as the Catechism classes thatwent on for almost a year with at least 5 times attendance in every week of not lessthan two hours went on and on. The confirmation day though spectacular in its ownright, was for me a public declaration of what I have been preparing for throughoutthat year. I was firmly convinced by this approach to the confirmation event sincethen and it has not failed me till today. I doubt if it will ever fail me. There is the danger of expecting that 'spectacular' receiving of the Holy Spiritamong many Christians today. The question it raises is this: after the spectacle of speaking in tongues what happens afterwards? With the same tongue, we curse anddefame others countless times. I do not subscribe to the school of thought thatargues that there is nothing like speaking in tongues. That will be absolutelyunChristian, unpriestly and unArinze! But if we are merely on the watch out tospeak in tongues, even to force the Spirit to make us speak, we may simply beplaying to the gallery, only interested in spiritual showbiz, bamboozling andentertainment.I am firmly secured in the tradition that holds the conviction that theHoly Spirit inspires people as He deems ultimate. This spiritual inspiration includesbut is not limited to speaking in tongues. Thus narrowing down the expression of the gifts of the Holy Spirit we receive duringconfirmation to only speaking in tongues will be an impossible attempt to clip thewings of the Holy Spirit. I am sure you understand what I am referring to withoutnaming names. So my understanding of the effect of the Holy Spirit as I gotconfirmed is to be the Christ the world sees in and through me. I may not have

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