Writing a letter to your confirmation candidate

It seems that one of the biggest events in confirmation preparation in this country is the letters of support to be given to the confirmation candidates during their mandatory retreats.

I have three such letters saved on this blog:

Confirmation letter to my daughterConfirmation letter to my fourth sonConfirmation letter to to my third son
I've asked my children what they remember about the letter they got from me and their dad, and also what they remembered about the letters they received. 
The answer was not much, or at least nothing specific. In general they were happy to have gotten a bag full of letters and there was a sense of feeling loved and supported. I guess that's the main thing - for them to have a sense that this is an important step in their spiritual growth, and that people they know, love and respect have taken the time out of their lives to let them know that! So here are some tips on procuring and writing letters for young confirmation candidates. Start thinkin…

The Feast of Justin Martyr and My Birthday

St Justin Martyr
Father Lawrence Lew, OP, via Flickr, licensed cc

While at Ephesus, he was impressed by the steadfastness of the Christian martyrs, and by the personality of an aged Christian man whom he met by chance while walking on the seashore. This man spoke to him about Jesus as the fulfilment of the promises made through the Jewish prophets. Justin was overwhelmed. "Straightway a flame was kindled in my soul," he writes, "and a love of the prophets and those who are friends of Christ possessed me."

Justin became a Christian, but he continued to wear the cloak that was the characteristic uniform of the professional teacher of philosophy. His position was that pagan philosophy, especially Platonism, is not simply wrong, but is a partial grasp of the truth, and serves as "a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ."

From Father Lew on Flickr

From Early Christian Writings.com
Well, they say, if then the flesh rise, it must rise the same as it falls; so that if it die with one eye, it must rise one-eyed; if lame, lame; if defective in any part of the body, in this part the man must rise deficient. How truly blinded are they in the eyes of their hearts! For they have not seen on the earth blind men seeing again, and the lame walking by His word. All things which the Saviour did, He did in the first place in order that what was spoken concerning Him in the prophets might be fulfilled, "that the blind should receive sight, and the deaf hear," and so on; but also to induce the belief that in the resurrection the flesh shall rise entire. For if on earth He healed the sicknesses of the flesh, and made the body whole, much more will He do this in the resurrection, so that the flesh shall rise perfect and entire. In this manner, then, shall those dreaded difficulties of theirs be healed.

At 50+, these are welcome words to read! I'd like to know that the aches and pains of my body in this life, will be gone when it rises again!

Something I wrote for this blog quite a few years back but still seems to fit:
Today is the feast of Justin Martyr.   By some odd coincidence it is also my birthday.  It wasn't until I reverted back to my Catholic Faith and started to get interested in such things that I discovered that I was born on the feast of a saint that I felt such an immediate kinship too.  Of course it wasn't until I reverted back to my Catholic Faith that I felt the need to defend it, study it, and seek the truth from it.  Isn't it funny sometimes how God gives us the role models that we need, and puts them in special places in our lives for us to benefit from, even when we aren't aware of it?   How he designed this special date as a connection between this holy saint and me, born centuries later, is just awesome.  It makes me even more aware that God really has a plan and is working it, every day, of every year, through the centuries and that I am indeed a part of it!

I know that I once wrote on this blog that I was thinking of 55 as being the middle of my life. I also know that when I wrote that (sometime in my mid 40s), somewhat aware that a mid-life of 55 makes the endpoint at around 110 - which is probably very unlikely.  But even if I optimistically hold on to that, I am now two years over that line in the sand. Even in my own mind, I am now living the second half of my life.

I'm okay with it.  In a lot of ways it's very freeing. Things that used to matter a lot, just don't matter as much any more. I'm happy to be here and I hope that I can be here for a few more decades - and I hope that I am able to contribute something while I'm here. That's what I want to celebrate every year.

The thing about being your 50s is that while there some sadness and loss of loved ones, and many memories, there is still much to look forward to ahead. (How can one really celebrate their birthday without also thinking of their mom! - Thank you mom!) So I am looking back with gratitude to my mom, my grandparents, and all my aunts and uncles, but really delighted to see what's coming up next with my kids and granddaughter, my sister and extended family and all of my dear friends. Spending time with Mr. Pete is a bonus!

Speaking of bonuses - my sister has created an Elliefest on Facebook to celebrate my birthday, and she posted some awesome old photos.  Longtime readers might remember that I worried about the dearth of available pictures to remember me by, should I pass away anytime soon. My sister's festival has assured me that she has that covered!!


My niece, the new doctor is in the back pack next to me!




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