The Wise vs. The Foolish

by Father Brian J. Soliven on Sunday November 12, 2023

Last Saturday, our parish had the great honor of hosting the Confirmation of nearly 80 adults and their families from different parishes throughout the Diocese of Sacramento. St. Mary’s was packed; standing room only. We probably had close to 700 people in attendance. Our very own Bishop of Sacramento, Most Reverend Jaime Soto, presiding over the Holy Mass. In the middle of Mass, he extended his hands over these 80 adults, he prayed: 

“All powerful God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, by water and the Holy Spirit you freed your sons and daughters from sin and gave them new life. Send your Holy Spirit upon them to be their helper and guide. Give them the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of right judgment and courage, the spirit of knowledge and reverence. Fill them with the spirit of wonder and awe in your presence. We ask this through Christ our Lord.” 

He called forth the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit they will soon all receive. Out of these gifts, there is one in particular that is especially important in our modern day and age. It is the gift of courage. In some translations, we also call this gift “fortitude.” A person with fortitude, is given the supernatural ability to stand up for God, even if it means enduring rejection, physical and emotional harm, and yes, even sometimes death, all in the name of Jesus Christ. Fortitude is the strength to be Catholic when our faith is challenged. This can mean standing against our culture with its confusing and loose morals. 

Fortitude is the gift at the heart of the Gospel passage in this Sunday’s readings. Fortitude is what separates the five wise virgins from the five foolish ones. We must ask ourselves, which ones are we? These ten virgins represent the Christian people. The foolish ones are the Christians who become distracted with the world and all its superficial allurements. They have stopped praying, stopped coming to Sunday Mass, and no longer practice Christian charity. They no longer live the life of a disciple. In other words, they have become bored with Jesus. To be wise, on the other hand, is to live the fire of the Christian life, fully alive. To do this well, we need all of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. That is why it is extremely important that we receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. If you haven’t been confirmed yet, especially as an adult, contact the parish office and we’ll get you on the right path to receive these awesome gifts of God.