Confirmation Fast

The 2014 edition of Worship includes yet another examination of the sacrament of Confirmation. Timothy Brunk looks at “The Sacrament of Confirmation in a Consumer Culture.” It pushes the idea of a return to a traditional order of the initiation sacraments. Dr Brunk also asserts that the Church often caters to consumerism in the way it often administers the sacrament. If you have access to the article, I recommend it.

One thought that wraps up the paper:

If no change in sequence is forthcoming soon, I suggest that the church consider the practice of fasting. Both Peter Lombard and Hugh of St Victor taught that confirmation should be administered only by those who fast to those who fast.

Why?

Fasting is precisely a nonconsumerist stance.

Dr Brunk continues, noting that the catechism and other catechetical documents are rather weak on the notion of fasting. A confirmation fast could adopt the character of Holy Saturday. But …

In a consumer culture, however, it might be more effective instead to use as a model the practice from fasting from consumer purchases on Black Friday … and to expand the practice beyond a single day. Imagine the impact on consumer habits if those to be confirmed, their families, and their sponsors refrained from consumer purchases (electronic gadgets, books, movie tickets, concert tickets, stylish clothes, etc.) for a month before celebrating the sacrament.

Or whole parishes, Dr Brunk suggests.

As the author concedes, there is a danger in such a practice becoming one more hoop, one more requirement, one more notch for earned grace.

It strikes me also as an interesting practice for Lent, this consumer fasting. It might inspire some believers to go a bit deeper, look to some new practices. Chocolate, the old consumerism; cell phone upgrades, the new.

Did I mention the young miss and her mom cashed in on their phone upgrades last week? What an evening that was. I would have liked to fast from all the choices, options, and such. My provider and family are both pressuring me to upgrade. It’s been waiting for me for months now, and I find I like my old phone just fine.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
This entry was posted in Rite of Confirmation, spirituality and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Confirmation Fast

  1. Liam says:

    A more general, subtle, fast is to fast from that which stimulates and gratifies us quickly.

    I would suggest, however, that such a fast only be undertaken with a serious spiritual director or serious spiritual accountability partner, as it were. Otherwise, it can indeed just be a way to get to the same end by an inverted route. (Taking CS Lewis’ formulation of perennial Christian ascetic spiritual wisdom* to heart:“The devil… sends errors into the world in pairs – pairs of opposites. And he always encourages us to spend a lot of time thinking which is the worse… He relies on your extra dislike of the one error to draw you gradually into the opposite one.”)

    * Something learned early in the history of Christian ascetic movements: ambitious Christians fled the temptations of the cities and towns of Antiquity for the rigors of internal spiritual athletics in the desert. Only to find that the temptations were more internal than external, the struggles then only deepening. Flight is an illusion. A comforting one, of course. At least at first.

  2. Jen says:

    Hrm. I think there’s a real danger of custom blocking access to the sacraments. Confirmation is becoming increasingly onerous with requirements of various parishes. I wonder if we all wouldn’t be better served, if confirmation were moved back to baptism, like it’s done in the East.

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