By definition a commission is an act of giving charge or an authoritative order or direction. (Thank you dictionary.com)
This definition would also explain why my Freshman Confirmation students looked at me funny when I told them that “Confirmation was not a graduation from the Church, but a commission to go out and learn more.” What concerned me more was that their sponsors looked at me just as strangely.
Class then opened up for students to try and stump the Youth Minister. I will say that this is one of my favorite times of the class. Then came the usual questions of why women can’t be priests, why aren’t priests married and the like. One student did get fairly creative and asked are we “half – Jewish?” After this class was over and I just presented myself to be open to chat with the students. They came over and started talking about their sports, activities and what would be a pretty color to wear for the Confirmation mass.
I then spotted one young man still thinking about the topics we had discussed. He looked aptly confused so I went over to have a quick chat. I asked him what was on his mind and if there was something that I needed to clear up from my answers. The young man smiled happily and replied that no, there was nothing that I needed to clear up, but how did I know so much about the Catholic faith? I sat down with him absolutely over joyed with this question, he was curious about a commission. We spoke for a while and we got to what I had said about Confirmation being a commission to learn more about your faith. He looked at me sadly and commented that he didn’t know if he could.
My husband who was standing nearby and waiting for me, had been listening to our conversation. He leaned in and quoted Star Wars “You have learned much young padawan, but you still have much to learn.” All of a sudden it came to him, although he had learned enough to be out in the world alone, he still had to go out and learn more. He then turned to me and eagerly asked, “Then how do I learn?” I gave him a list of a few websites and books that he could start with, then I reminded him, “always ask questions.” His face lit up like a kid that has conceived the perfect scheme, “I vow that someday I will ask you a question you cannot answer” and he happily departed with his mom.
Every time I see him I ask, “Do you have another question yet?” He smiles and reassures me that he’s thinking. I smile back with the knowledge that he is living up to his commission.