Hi and welcome to Beyond the Pew. Today we’re going to talk about how to walk through the sacraments of initiation as a family. So what are the sacraments of initiation? Well there are three. First one is baptism. Then we have confirmation. And then we have the Holy Eucharist.
So the first sacrament of initiation, baptism, is one that many of us received when we are babies. And probably many of your kids have received when they were babies. So for our kids it’s hard to remember or to recall or put any importance on baptism, but really baptism is like that very first encounter with the divine. So one way that we can walk through baptism as a family is celebrate baptism as if it’s like a birthday. Because in reality, your baptism is your birthday into the family of God. That’s when you’re adopted into the family of God.
I like to tell my youth, I spent some time overseas in a country where Christianity was not legal. And these people are so disconnected from how we live in America, but I would tell them, “Wow! We’re, you and I, are more related together.” Even though they live in a completely different country, we are more related than I am to a family member that has not been baptized because we have been connected in Christ.
And so one way that we can help our family and help our kids to understand the celebration as amazing sacrament of baptism is celebrate your baptism day. Make it a birthday! Take your baptismal candle and put it on your birthday cake or light it every time you’re going through something hard and pray together as a family.
The next sacrament of initiation is confirmation. So in America right now baptism happens normally when you’re a baby and Confirmation happens around the time of high school. But it wasn’t always the case. Baptism and Confirmation used to go together, but confirmation really completes the sacrament of baptism. So we receive the Holy Spirit in baptism, but we receive the Holy Spirit in a full, complete way at confirmation.
As many of our kids are receiving confirmation when they’re in high school, one of the best things we can do for our kids when they receive confirmation, is to make sure that us as a family understands and that our kids understand that confirmation is not a graduation from church. It’s the opposite. Confirmation is a reception, a full reception into the church saying, “You are now fully initiated into the church and now you have responsibilities.”
So as a family what we can do when our kids receive confirmation is, “Okay you’re confirmed. You’re part of the church now. So now you pick a ministry that you serve at. You pick a ministry that you want to do.” That could be being a Eucharistic minister. That could be being an usher. It could be helping out at RE or the daycare, anything. It could be visiting the elderly and giving them the Eucharist when they can’t receive it on Sunday. Having our kids start even that early in high school, picking a ministry really helps them to understand, “Okay now I have a responsibility. I’m part of the church, and so now I have to serve.” And making it an expectation of our kids, that okay you’re confirmed. This isn’t the end. This is the beginning.
The next sacrament of initiation is the Holy Eucharist, which is the source and the summit of our faith. The Holy Eucharist is the only sacrament of initiation which we receive more than once. So baptism we received one-time. Confirmation we receive one-time. You can receive the Eucharist every single day if you want, which is a great way to experience the Eucharist together as a family, if you can.
I know that people’s schedules are busy and there’s work and things like that and homework, but try as a family. Find a day where you can go to daily Mass together as a family at least once a week if not more. It will absolutely transform your experience of the Mass, even on Sundays. If possible, if your kids altar serve, have them also serve at a daily Mass. Have them read. Have them greet people. Give them something, an opportunity to serve at Mass, so that they can understand that Mass isn’t something that’s boring that they just go to, but it’s something that we interact with and that we’re encountering Jesus with.
Another great way to experience the Eucharist as a family, this awesome gift, is go to adoration together. Have a holy hour as a family. I can guarantee you that your kids’ faith will grow, and you might even find that your own faith will grow as well. It’ll definitely pull you together as a family, and you’ll be able to discuss and talk about your prayer life and the ways that God has been moving in your life, the ways that God has been speaking to you or even if he’s been silent, if you’ve been struggling, and opening that door of conversation between you and your kids.
These sacraments of initiation, Baptism, Confirmation, the Eucharist, they all give us grace from God. They all connect us to the Holy Spirit. They give us God’s life within us and I encourage you to have your family pray together, experience these sacraments together, celebrate together. And I promise that your family life will be transformed. See you next week.