I received the gift of the Holy Spirit when I was nine years old. It took many months of catechism class to prepare to receive the sacrament of Holy Confirmation in the Catholic Church. There were dozens of questions about doctrine and faith to study, like:
What is a sacrament? A sacrament is an outward sign made by Christ to give grace.
What is grace? Grace is any gift from God.
How many persons are there in God? There are three Persons in God.
….and so on. There were scores of prayers and creeds to memorize, months of CCD every Wednesday afternoon and hours of quizzing by my parents at night, but the pay-off for a nine-year-old girl was the opportunity to choose a saint’s name as my second middle name. All by myself. This was a big deal. It seemed like such a grown-up thing to do, to pick MY OWN name. I chose the name Christine, not because I knew anything about St. Christine, but because the name was so pretty to me. Jodi Marie Christine.
My grandma was so proud of my Confirmation that she called me Christine the whole day. My parents gave me an illustrated book of the “Lives of the Saints” to commemorate the occasion and as any nine-year-old would do, the first thing I did was look up my birthday. I was immediately disappointed. The illustration seemed so dark –a man with a hood, a scary looking bird and a funny name that I had only associated with Benedict Arnold, a famous American traitor. After gaining such a beautiful name like Christine, what kind of luck did I have to get a guy named Benedict on my birthday?! July 11, St. Benedict, Abbot, it said. I read the pages about St. Benedict often, thinking that I should have some connection with this man as my patron saint, but then I forgot about him until…