Imagine you’re working in your parish and it’s time to go home. While on your way, you get into a horrific car accident that takes your life. Moving through your death process and transitioning into the next life, you find yourself in a plain, well-lit room. Someone enters the room and informs you that you have been judged and found redeemed by the Lord and now led into the heavenly kingdom.
While walking around, you pass by the pearly gates which are closed. As you look around, trying to get your bearing, someone calls your name. It is the mother of one of the kids in your previous program. She has also died and found out that she will not gain entrance into heaven. Looking at you in the eyes, she pleadingly questions, “Why didn’t you say anything? You knew the truth and you never said anything. Why?”
This was the type of dream I had that shook me to the core. After thirty years of parish ministry, I have carried a strong conviction that I have a responsibility to inform our people with the truth.
Every year, thousands of people come to local parishes looking for guidance on navigating the turbulent times. They bring their children to us, hoping that we will give them all they need to lead them to heaven. However, we know that what we gave their parents was not enough. The evidence is clear! We are confirming students in their Catholic Faith while they still struggle to believe in God.
Having been the director of preparation for Confirmation for over a dozen years, I can easily relate to those who have the job now. The level of pressure put on them by the parents to simplify, water down, and almost remove all serious preparation from the process is of tsunami proportions. It is easier to just run the kids through the process than to do the real work of evangelization. We know that what we are doing is not accomplishing the desired goal of leading souls to salvation in Jesus.
Many of the parents were never evangelized, but were confirmed. This led to the assumption that they received all there was to get. So, they naturally want the security of getting the sacraments for their children, but the simplicity of no real preparation. Despite the fact that this lack of effort would never fly in ANY OTHER SERIOUS PURSUIT IN LIFE, they are comfortable in their ignorance.
The hard truth is that every soul is eternal and their decisions will have eternal consequences. Every soul needs to know God’s expectations and actions so they can clearly see and decide whether they want to live with God or not. We (the Church) were charged with the task of communicating this truth to them. Whether they want to hear the message or not, they need to know that our current methods for transmitting faith is insufficient, and why!