I didn't plan to work in the 8th grade Confirmation classroom this year. I didn't expect to step into a classroom at all. I thought I had put that behind me when I stepped away from teaching a couple of years ago to write.
But last September, when I realized that our deacon didn't have a permanent assistant, that he would have to rely on a different parent every week to help keep the class in order, I heard the Spirit prompting me.
I argued for a few minutes. But I don't want to teach. Middle school isn't my strong suit, you know that, Holy Spirit. And John and I won't have any free time at all. We like our weekly mom-and-dad time alone. Drop our daughter off. Head to Dairy Queen. Okay, okay. I'm going.
And I walked up to the good deacon and offered my services. He was shocked. That kind of thing doesn't usually happen without a lot of arm twisting.
Last week, I not only helped out in the classroom, I taught a portion of the class on my own while Deacon led a special class for another grade level.
I took a moment to tell the class what Confirmation means to me.
It means that the Holy Spirit comes upon me with greater power and seals me for greater service. It means that I am empowered to do those things that the Lord has called me to do.
Things God has placed on my heart and I desire to do. And those things that God has placed on my heart and I really want to resist.
Like helping out with the 8th grade Confirmation class instead of eating ice cream at Dairy Queen on Wednesday evening, alone with my husband.
The students looked at me closely and saw that I was smiling. They smiled back, realizing that this year had been a bit of a sacrifice for me, but I counted it worth it all. They were worth it all. (They know I really do like them and care about them.)
Then I told them something about me that they didn't know. The Holy Spirit will also open doors for you in areas that you greatly desire to serve.
For years, I wanted to write. I wrote and wrote and wrote. Publishers and editors sent me rejection after rejection - all throughout my twenties and thirties.
When I was 40, I converted to the Catholic Church and was Confirmed in the Faith, sealed by the Holy Spirit, empowered to do those things God has called me to do.
In the last four years, since the year I entered the Church, over 26 diocesan papers have carried my articles. I have written for online Catholic magazines and Catholic women's magazines. I honestly don't have enough material to keep up with the demand. That has never happened before.
Sure, sometimes the Holy Spirit closes doors to places we would like to go. And sometimes, what we want isn't really what God wants. But when our desire matches what God desires, Confirmation is the key to the whole thing.
The fire of the Spirit begins with Baptism. This fire receives rocket fuel at Confirmation. And there is no limit to what God can do.
He can prompt the heart of man (and woman) to do things he never would have wanted to do, and He can open doors to the very things the man (or woman) was created to do.
How are you fulfilling your call?