June 18:   Happy Birthday to me! Happy Birthday to me! Happy Birthday to me! This Sunday, the 18th I’m turning the big 10 years old (that’s 70 in canine years!  )It’s a good thing I still have a lot of pup in me to chase those rabbits and teach those squirrels all about our faith!  Isn’t life wonderful?!  Did you know birthdays weren’t always celebrated in our Christian history?? Within 100 years of the Church’s earthly existence holidays started being set aside to commemorate the death of certain famous godly Christians.  These saints days were described as their “birthdays into heaven!” It wasn’t much longer thereafter Christians began to remember and celebrate their own birth days when they were born onto this earth.  On my birthday this June 18th  I’m gonna pray and reflect on the beautiful Psalm 139: 13-16 and would recommend that on your birthdays it might be something you may consider as well. 
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.  
                                                                                                                                                                                             (Psalm 139:13-16)

June 11:  One thing the squirrels just have a hard time comprehending is the theology of the Holy Trinity.  I mean they just can’t seem to get it into their squirrel brains how there can be 3 persons in 1 God.  (I know they are jealous they don’t have the smarts of a Sheltie!)  See, the squirrels are a like a lot of people, so sometimes, being realists, they need facts! 

They just don’t accept that in our faith we often “walk by faith, not by sight.”  But we believe in this Mystery because Jesus, who is God, taught it clearly, the Evangelists recorded it, the Fathers of the Church tried to explain it and the Councils of Nicaea and Constantinople defined it as a dogma of Christian Faith. Also, the fact that this was the preaching mission given by the risen Lord to the disciples, Jesus commanded them to baptize people “in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Confer also Matthew 28:19; John 10:30). 

So you see, you don’t really have to understand everything about our faith cause who can know the mind of God?  Our faith is soooo much more than that and the Trinity is about one of the coolest things we have, to know the great and awesome love God has for us and the power of his presence, through the Holy Spirit.

I do know that many of the squirrels in my squirrel class now stand in awe of the Holy Trinity and I’m thinking that many people should do the same!! 

June 4:  One of the coolest celebrations of the whole church year is Pentecost!! The celebration of the power of the Holy Spirit and God’s continued presence with us at all times, at all places, under all circumstances!!  It’s also cool that we’re celebrating Confirmation today as well, so I continue what I started last week clearing up a few misconceptions about the Sacrament of Confirmation! 

Last weeks misconceptions were
1. Confirmation is not a type of graduation and 2. Confirmation confirms and completes what began at baptism, the giving of the Holy Spirit!

The 3rd misconception is that some think that a sponsor has to be a relative or the godparent.  Well, sometimes well-intentioned parents insist on who your sponsor “should be.”  Their input is great and should always be respected, but the decision is yours.  Just because you were named for “Great Aunt Agatha” or because “Cousin Hector” hasn’t gotten to be a sponsor yet, doesn’t mean they are spiritually prepared for the duty.  The sponsor should not only be a confirmed Catholic who goes to Mass every week, but an example of what it means to live the faith.  It doesn’t have to be your godparent or even a family member.  The choice is yours.  Find someone you look up to and respect in the faith, in or out of your family tree, and prayerfully consider them.

As for Great Aunt Agatha, you can always invite her to the Rite of Confirmation Mass to see you receive the Sacrament.  Oh, and tell her to get there early because there’ll probably be a crowd!

May 28:  So, next week Bishop Amos will be here on Pentecost Sunday and confirm quite a number of our 8th graders.  The squirrels really have  a lot of misconceptions of what Confirmation is all about.  For example:

Misconception #1.  Many view Confirmation as a type of ‘graduation’.  This Sacrament does not signify the end of your religious education or formation. Likewise, it is not the end of the parent’s responsibilities either.  The idea that “I just have to get my kid their sacraments” is not only a bad idea, it’s bad theology.  Confirmation is not an end; it’s a new beginning!

Misconception #2  Some think Confirmation is a time for the child/teen to “confirm” or “accept for themselves” what was begun at their baptism.  Again, I explain to those squirrels that Confirmation completes the reception of grace that was begun with the grace of Baptism.  It’s not about what you have to proclaim.  It is about the Church confirming what happened to you at Baptism and saying that you are ready to receive the Holy Spirit in this manner!

I know this will help Squirrel Theology Class 101 and I know it will help you, too.  I’ll continue next week with a fuller understanding of Confirmation and Pentecost!!!!  Class dismissed!