As a child, like most little girls, I loved fairy tale stories. Even now I must admit that I will still watch the Disney classics and other children’s princess and fairy tale movies! The stories always have a happy ending, good always triumphs over evil, and there are girls in gorgeous princess gowns singing and dancing. What could be better? One common scene in all these movies is the “transformation” scene. You know the ones…
Ordinary girl is transformed into beautiful princess
Poor peasant boy becomes prince
Hideous beast turns into handsome man
Mermaid becomes beautiful girl
Two frogs become the beautiful prince and princess
…and so on. Despite what happens throughout the rest of the movie, the transformation scene not only transforms that particular character, but it changes the lives of the people around them as well. In one miraculous instant, the lives of the characters are no longer the same.
Yesterday our Parish was blessed to have the Bishop visit and give the sermon during Mass. The Bishop spoke in his sermon about making a commitment. He spoke of having full trust to commit to your family, your spouse, and our God, without knowing what may come next. To agree to follow Christ without knowing where the path may lead us along the way can be a challenge. But that ultimate trust, as the Bishop told us, is what gives us that amazing peace found in Christ alone.
So how do we carry on through the day to day trials, stresses, ups and downs? When times get rough, how do we keep our eyes on the Lord and trust fully in Him when we are confused by the path before us? I believe it is in these moments that we reach out to the Holy Spirit for guidance and strength.
When we are confirmed, we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit just as the apostles received the Holy Spirit after Christ’s ascension into heaven. This gift, this flame of love and peace that came to each of them, it transformed them. They were filled with the Holy Spirit. They were able to speak in languages understood by all. Not only were their lives transformed, but by the grace of God they were able to reach and be heard and understood by everyone in the crowd. They were able to extend the transformation to all those around them.
The Holy Spirit is present in our lives as well. In the mystery of the Holy Trinity, we come to know God as One in three persons. God the Father, Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit, surrounding us all with God’s everlasting love and peace. When we open our hearts to the Holy Spirit, we too can be transformed. Our transformation may not be filled with swirling, twinkling lights and beautiful gowns. It may not be a transformation of our outward appearance. But it is a transformation just as life changing, beautiful, and exciting as those in the Disney movies we love. We are transformed in our hearts. We are renewed in our spirit. A sense of peace, of calm, of joy, should fill our hearts. And that transformation, just like in the fairy tales, is not limited to our person alone.
The transformation within our hearts should fill us with a joy that cannot be contained. We are called to carry that joy to all that we meet. We are called to use the gift of the Holy Spirit within us to transform those around us. Through our actions, our words, our example. At Confirmation we receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord (Isaiah 11:2). These gifts enrich our spirit and we are called to use these gifts to spread the love of Christ to those around us. And this is not only something we receive in Confirmation. We can pray for guidance and strength every day. Constant prayer with God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit will enrich our lives, transform our spirits, and allow us to spread hope, joy, and faith all around us.
Little girls everywhere see the fairy tale movies and dream of a transformation that will bring the happiness and beauty that is reflected in the movies. And I believe that transformation is very real. It may not be at the hands of a fairy godmother, a big blue genie, or a magical rose. No, it is a far greater transformation at the hands of the ever loving King of Kings. It is a transformation through the Holy Spirit, bringing us closer to God, wrapping us in the love, joy, and beauty of Christ, and calling us to share this wonderful gift with everyone we meet.