A few weeks ago, I traveled to Iowa and gave two 30-minute talks to a group of 10th grade Confirmation students. My talks were scheduled to come at the end of the retreat, so I spent the first couple of hours mingling with the students and walking around the room while they completed a hands-on activity.
When I approached one table of girls, I was taken by surprise when one of the girls casually blurted out, "I don't want to be confirmed."
I didn't think I had heard her correctly. I gave her my most winsome smile and said, "What was that? I don't think I heard you."
"I don't want to be Confirmed." She said again. "I don't want to be here. My dad made me come today."
In my heart, I said a very quick prayer. Is she why I came? Is this one the reason why I drove six hours from Missouri to talk to this group?
I matched her honesty with a bit of my own. "Oh, don't say that. I drove six hours yesterday just to be with you today and tell you why this is one incredible sacrament!" I hoped that my face showed how much I really meant what I said.
She looked up at me and smiled back. "You did?"
"I sure did."
"Okay. I'll listen. And it's not really that I don't want to be Confirmed; I'm just tired. I want to go back to bed."
"Bed will be there when you get home. Just try to stay awake for the talk. I drove all this way, just for you."
And she did listen. They all listened.
This week, when I stopped by the Adoration Chapel to pray, I remembered the young lady. I know this is the eleventh hour in her journey to the Sacrament of Confirmation, but God does wonderful things in the eleventh hour. I prayed that she would be able to say that she chose to be Confirmed. She wanted it. Not dad. Not duty.
When she renews those baptismal promises and the Bishop says, "Be sealed with the Holy Spirit," I pray that she will be given a double portion of grace.
And when I stood up - after praying in the Chapel this week - after I genuflected and dipped my fingers in the Holy Water Font and passed through the doors, I realized that she was the reason I had gone to Iowa.
Lord, hear my prayer.